Rocky juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) is part of the genus Juniper, which belongs to the cypress family. In nature, such a plant can be found in Canada (in the southwestern province of Alberta and British Columbia), in the United States (in western Texas, in Oregon and in northern Arizona), as well as in northern Mexico. It prefers to grow on the rocky soil of the mountains at an altitude of 1200-2700 meters above sea level. This type of juniper is cultivated relatively rarely.
Rocky juniper is represented by shrubs and dioecious trees. Under natural conditions, such a plant can have a height of 10–18 meters, and the girth of its trunk varies from 0.8 to 2 meters. However, the juniper growing in the garden is not so tall and thick. In this plant, the crown begins almost from the base, its shape is irregular conical, while over the years it becomes rounded. The color of the bark is brown. Young stems are colored pale blue or greenish blue. Opposite ovate-rhombic leaf plates are usually scaly, 0.2 centimeters long and 0.1 centimeters wide. The color of the leaves is dark green, green-gray or gray-blue. This plant has needle-shaped needles, its length is 1.2 centimeters, and its width is 0.2 centimeters. The spherical cone berries are dark blue with a bluish bloom, their length is 0.4-0.6 centimeters. Only at the end of the second year will they fully mature. Inside the cone berries are brown-red ribbed seeds, which are about 0.5 centimeters in diameter.
Rocky juniper Blue Erro (arrow) / Juniper planting and care / conifers
If you have purchased a rocky juniper seedling with a closed root system, then it can be planted at any time of the year except winter. In the event that the seedling has an open root system, then it is recommended to plant it in open ground at the very beginning of the spring period after the soil is well warmed up, but the sap flow should not start yet.
In the event that if you strictly follow the agrotechnical conditions of this type of juniper, then it will be quite simple to care for it. When choosing a site for planting, it should be borne in mind that it must be open and well-lit, and the groundwater must lie deep enough. If the variety is dwarf, then a site with poor soil should be chosen for it, otherwise such a juniper will not be stunted. High varieties of juniper are recommended to be grown in nutritious soil. Also note that this plant needs a lot of space.
The size of the hole for planting should be at least 2 times the volume of the seedling root system. If the seedling is a dwarf variety, then a distance of 50 centimeters should be observed between the bushes. When planting tall plants, leave at least 200 centimeters of empty space between the specimens, the fact is that after 10 years such a juniper begins to grow actively. At the bottom of the pit, it is necessary to make a drainage layer, the thickness of which should be 20 centimeters, for this you can use crushed stone or broken brick. It is recommended to immerse the seedling together with the container a few hours before planting in a container with water. This way, you can gently remove the plant from the container without damaging its root system. In the event that you can plant a seedling along with a clod of earth, it will be much easier for a juniper to take root.
The seedling must be lowered into a pit, which is covered with a prepared earth mixture consisting of peat, turf and sand (2: 1: 1). The planted plant needs abundant watering. After the liquid is completely absorbed into the soil, the surface of the trunk circle will need to be covered with an eight-centimeter layer of mulch (chips, peat, sawdust or pine bark). The root collar of the planted seedling should be at the level of the surface of the plot.
It is quite easy to care for the rocky juniper, as it is distinguished by its unpretentiousness and resistance to urban conditions. But it should be borne in mind that in the first years after planting, the plant will grow extremely slowly.
Mature bushes need to be watered only during prolonged drought. However, the juniper can be watered no more than three times per season. Newly planted seedlings need to be watered more frequently. It is also recommended to spray the seedlings with lukewarm water, and this should be done in the evening.
It is impossible to feed this plant with organic matter. For young bushes, just one top dressing is enough, which is arranged in April or May, for this they use Kemiru-wagon (for 1 bucket of water 20 grams) or Nitroammofosku (for 1 square meter from 30 to 40 grams). Adult bushes do not need to be fed.
Caring for a rocky juniper in winter directly depends on the variety. If the bush has a columnar crown, then after a heavy snowfall, it is imperative to remove the snow from it by shaking it off, otherwise the branches may not withstand such a weight and break. In order to prevent injury to the branches, they must be pulled together with twine before heavy snowfall so that they are pressed against the trunk.
If you transplant a juniper without following the rules, then this can destroy it. The reason for the death of the plant in this case lies in severe damage to the root system. Adult large bushes are the hardest to tolerate transplanting. What are the rules that allow you to transplant a plant without severe damage? The most important rule is to preserve the integrity of a clod of earth when digging up a bush, because it is in it that the root system of the plant is located.
It is recommended to transplant in March – April or June – July, because it is at this time that the plant has the maximum root-forming ability. But still, in the summer, it is better to refrain from transplanting, since in the heat the needles evaporate a large amount of liquid, which leads to a significant weakening of the juniper, as well as to a slowdown in its adaptation. In this regard, it is best to transplant in the spring, but if time is running out, then you can transfer the bush to a new place in the fall during the fall of leaves.
Dig a pit for a start, and do not forget to take into account the size of the earthen lump of the bush. Then a good drainage layer must be made at its bottom. Prepare the required amount of soil mixture with which you will fill the pit. When everything is ready, you can start removing the bush from the ground. To do this, you need to dig it in, not forgetting to step back from the trunk at least 50 centimeters. The juniper extracted with a lump of earth must be laid on a strong cloth or film, then it is carefully moved to a new planting site. You need to plant a dug bush in the same way as a seedling during the initial planting. The surface of the trunk circle must be covered with a layer of mulch, and do not forget that the transplanted plant needs protection from direct sunlight.
Planting and caring for junipers
Very often, such a plant becomes infected with rust, which is a fungal disease. In an infected specimen, growths of a deep orange color appear on the branches, they contain oil with a pigment, which is very similar in composition to carotene. The infected bush loses its spectacular appearance, its branches begin to dry. A few years later, such a bush dies. If you notice the first signs of rust, then in the very near future, cut off and destroy all affected parts of the plant, and then treat the juniper with a fungicide. Experts advise in this case to use such effective drugs as: Bayleton, Skor, Rogor, Vectra and Tilt.
Also, quite often the juniper bush affects Fusarium wilting (tracheomycosis). Its development is very often associated with the fact that the plant is grown in overly dense soil with high humidity. This disease affects the root system of the plant, which stops transferring nutrients to the aerial parts of the plant. The fact is that the mycelium of the fungus grows into the vascular system of the juniper. In the affected bush, the apical shoots are the first to dry out, their needles change their color to pale red. After some time, the disease affects the entire bush. It is almost impossible to detect the development of fusarium wilt at an early stage, however, if you notice that the apical shoots of the bush have become yellow or red, then immediately cut off the infected branches and treat the plant and the soil surface under it with a fungicide. For a greater effect, experienced gardeners recommend changing the topsoil to fresh soil mixture, which must be soaked in a fungicide solution. In order to prevent the purchased material for planting, it is imperative to subject it to treatment with Quadris, Fitosporin-M or Maxim, not forgetting about the earthen lump. If the seedling is not very large, then its root system must be immersed in Maxim's solution for 2 or 3 hours.
Also, the juniper can lose its spectacular appearance or even die from a disease called the drying out of the branches. It is possible to understand that the bush is infected in springtime, its needles turn yellow and begin to die off, at first it affects not very large areas, but over time the disease spreads to the entire juniper or to most of it. As the disease progresses, small fruiting bodies of fungi form on the surface of the bark and needles. A diseased bush should be started to heal immediately, as the first signs of drying out of the branches were noticed. To do this, cut off all branches with yellow needles, and the plant itself must be treated with a fungicide solution. In the event that the juniper is very severely affected by the disease, then it will have to be dug up and destroyed. For prevention purposes, it is necessary to spray the bush 2 times per season, namely: in the second half of April and in the last days of October, for this they use Tilt, Ridomil Gold MC or Skor.
Another rocky juniper is able to get infected with brown shyute (the name is derived from the German word, which translates as "crumble"). In the affected specimen, the needles turn yellow and fall off. Most often, the disease makes itself felt in the first summer weeks. If you look at the infected needles in the last days of August, then on its surface you can see the fruit bodies of mushrooms of an ellipsoid shape and black color. If the juniper is improperly looked after or grown in the shade, as well as in a damp place, in these cases the disease will develop rapidly. Branches with yellowed needles must be cut off, and also remove all dead needles that have fallen to the site, then process the copy with Strobi, Skor, Quadris or Ridomil Gold MC. For the purpose of prevention, the bushes should be treated with these drugs in mid-April and in the autumn before frosts begin.
Pests such as miner moths, scale insects, aphids, as well as spider mites can harm this plant. To get rid of aphids, the bush must be sprayed with Fitoverm solution, which is prepared according to the instructions. If a mole has settled on the plant, then it must be treated with a Decis solution (for 1 bucket of water 2.5 grams), and you can get rid of the scabbard with a solution of Karbofos (for 1 bucket of water 70 grams of substance), which you need to process both the bush itself and the surface of the ground below it. Spider mites are afraid of acaricidal agents, for example: Karbofos, Aktellik, Aktara and others that have a similar effect.
Formative pruning of rocky juniper is not needed, because its crown has a very spectacular shape from nature. However, he needs sanitary pruning. How to prune a bush correctly? Pruning is carried out in early spring before sap flow begins, and a rainy day is chosen for this. All dried, injured, damaged by disease or pests, stems and branches, as well as those that do not grow properly, should be removed. If you want to align the contours of the crown, then remember that you can shorten branches and stems by no more than 20 mm, since the growth of this plant is only 10 centimeters per year.
Cutting and shaping ROCK Juniper SKYROCKET / topiary / Lord of the thuja /
You can propagate rocky juniper by young layering, cuttings or grafting. Cuttings are harvested in the spring, for this, the semi-lignified upper shoots with a heel are cut off (this is a small piece of wood of the branch from which the shoot grows). Cuttings are rooted in a greenhouse. After they take root, they should be planted on a training bed. Depending on the type of plant and the age of the cutting, it can take 1.5-6 months to take root. It takes 3-6 years to grow it in a school.
For propagation by layering, only creeping forms are suitable. The stem must be cleaned from the needles and fixed on the surface of the soil with a near-stem circle, which must be prepared in advance. After 6-12 months, they will fully take root. Rooted layers must be cut off from the mother bush and planted on a training bed, placed in a shaded place, for growing.
It is quite difficult to propagate this type of juniper by grafting, since certain professional skills will be required.
Thanks to the work of breeders from America, a large number of varieties of rock juniper were born, and all of them are quite popular among gardeners. The varieties that are suitable for growing in mid-latitudes will be described below:
In addition to the varieties described above, the following varieties of rocky juniper are cultivated by gardeners: Winter Blue, Tollesons Blue Whippin, Tollesons Green Whipin, Sutherland, Monwade, Medora, Greenspire, Erekta Glauka, Gray Glim, Colorado Green, etc.
In landscape design, experts widely use rocky juniper. So, it is used for group and single plantings in rocky and heather gardens, such a plant is used to frame alleys, it is used to decorate small backyard gardens, and it is also used as a vertical accent in various floral arrangements.
The crown of the rocky juniper is quite effective due to the fact that it is geometrically correct and clear. It is often used as a background for other plants or as a central link in a garden composition. This plant is perfect for those plots that are decorated in English or Scandinavian style, and the juniper will also look great in alpine or Japanese gardens.
Juniper is a beautiful coniferous plant that is appreciated not only for its appearance, but also for its medicinal properties.
Among the large number of evergreen conifers, a separate group stands out crops that are used in landscaping various territories and areas as a vertical. Among the available variety, the rocky juniper of the Skyrocket variety is in great demand., the speed and manner of growth of which determined its name. In translation, the name of the culture sounds like "striving upward", which fully corresponds to the description of the appearance of the ephedra.
The plant belongs to the cypress family; there are cultures with a columnar or spreading crown shape. Juniper is also represented by creeping or erect shrubs. The needles of the Skyrocket juniper are represented by small needles or scales.
However, the juniper is in demand not only due to its decorative attractiveness in the process of cultivation in the open field, but also for its fruits, which have found application in folk medicine and cooking. They are used to prepare sauces for meat dishes, and also make various compotes and pickles.
The history of the variety goes back to the 19th century, when a new juniper variety was developed as a result of the work of leading breeders., which, due to the ability to increase relative to height, is able to increase in size by 8 meters in 20 years, having a trunk diameter of at least 20 centimeters. The average annual increase in size for the "Skyrocket" is about 15-20 centimeters, which makes it stand out from the rest of its kind. The parent crops that were involved in the selection of a rocky variety of juniper native to North America, it was in this area on the mountain slopes that they grew.
Thanks to this relationship, the ephedra has inherited unpretentiousness in terms of the choice of soil for development, in addition, the plant has acquired resistance to negative temperatures.
Special attention should be paid to the root system of the plant, which is able to go deep into the ground, causing the strength of the rooting of the ephedra in any place. This characteristic makes the ornamental crop virtually immune to strong winds.
The branches of the ephedra develop from the very base, the needles have a gray-blue color. Shoots are notable for their tight fit to the trunk. The fruits are dark blue and are represented by berries.
Juniper grows best in areas not deprived of sunlight; in regions with a harsh climate, it is customary to shelter such crops in the open field. Juniper can suffer from too polluted air, which negatively affects its decorative component.
The juniper seedling should be 3 or 4 years old. Planting and / or replanting of the plant is carried out in April - May.
They plant it with a lump of earth, trying not to damage the root system:
All types of juniper are not particularly demanding on the soil, they can grow both on sandstones and on stony ground, however, for full growth, it is preferable to use fertile soils.
You will find juniper seeds and seedlings in our catalog, which combines the offers of various garden online stores. Select juniper seedlings
Universal junipers in all their variety of shapes, sizes and colors are widely used in landscaping. Tall plants adorn parks, alleys and gardens. There is no equal to columnar junipers, directed upward, as vertical elements of the landscape, expanding the space.
Medium-sized and undersized varieties are surprisingly decorative in the design of a personal plot - near a rocky hill and a lawn, in a solitary planting and in groups, as living multi-colored carpets and textured accents in a mixborder.