Description of virgin juniper, planting and care
One of the most popular coniferous trees in the summer cottage area is juniper. He can decorate any garden, and caring for the plant will not be difficult. The features of the Virginian species of juniper and methods of growing it will be discussed in this article.
Virginia juniper (or as it is sometimes called Virginia / Hungarian cypress) is an evergreen perennial plant belonging to the family of cypress crops. It grows naturally in the rocky terrain of North America, as well as on the Pacific coast. The tree grows quite high (30–35 m in height), has a wide massive trunk and abundant spreading green crown. A characteristic feature of juniperus virginiana is that in the cold season, its crown changes color to pale gray (less often brown).
In autumn, berries grow densely on the volumetric crown, in appearance and shape very similar to blueberries (round, blue or blue). The exact date of the culture is not known. In America, it was discovered in the middle of the XVII century, and it was brought to Russia in the century before last.
Did you know? Despite the fact that outwardly the fruits of juniper are very similar to berries, in fact they are blue round cones.
The characteristics of the Virginian juniper so pleased the breeders that he became the ancestor of a whole "line" of new varieties:
- Gray owl - One of the most distant relatives of Juniperus virginiana. This hybrid is a shrub that has a very spreading multi-level crown, which can reach 5 m in width. Gray juniper is very hardy and unpretentious to climatic conditions.
- Skyrocket Virgin - the only variety of this species that feels great without a lot of light. Skyrocket - a low tree (5-6 m) with a rather modest crown (about 2 m). Like Juniperus virginiana, it is prone to change the color of needles depending on the time of year.
- Glauca - The fastest growing of all junipers. In two years, its height can reach as much as 4 m. It has a modest crown (1.5–2 m in diameter), and begins to lose its attractiveness with age, and therefore requires constant cropping.
- Canaertii - a low tree with a lush crown. It grows slowly, has low frost resistance.
- Hetz - the slowest growing tall plant of all junipers (2 m in 10 years). But the crown is formed quite quickly (40 cm in 12 months). It has a branchy green crown.
- Golden spring - also is a bush. It grows up to 60 cm in height (less often - up to 1 m). The branches are green (sometimes they get a golden hue, which is why the variety got its name), spreading, form a kind of funnel.
Before planting juniper in the area, you must choose the right place. This variety is very demanding on lighting, so for planting, you must choose the sunny or, at worst, semi-shady side of the site.
Did you know? In ancient Russia, this plant was used for the manufacture of dishes. The peculiarity was that in such a product, without any additives, milk was never sour, even if it was left in direct sunlight.
After the place is selected and the seedling is ready, the time to proceed directly to planting:
- Cooking the pit. It should correspond to the volume of the root system + 20 cm of reserve.
- We fill the pit with 10 cm of fertile soil intended specifically for conifers.
- We put a support (peg) and lower the roots of the seedling in the pit.
- We fall asleep with fertile soil and earth from the pit.It is important to lay the ground carefully so as not to damage the root system.
- Pour abundantly (35–45 L) with warm water with the addition of fertilizer, which promotes faster rooting (“Kornevin”).
Video: Virginia Juniper Planting Instructions
Juniper is a fairly unpretentious plant and does not require special care. The only thing that is extremely important for the Virginian species is warming before frost, because it will not survive the cold season without human help.
Watering is required only by young trees, since all the work of the roots is aimed at growing. In the first two years, you need to water the juniper at least once a week. In dry summers, the amount of watering needs to be increased. Adult trees do not need watering, except in hot summers, when the land is too dry. Two or three buckets during the summer will be enough.
Top dressing, as well as watering, is required exclusively for “young growth”. At the beginning of warming (late March-mid-April), it’s the time to comprehensively fertilize the root system. To do this, you need to purchase a special substrate for conifers, pour it around the base of the plant and pour plenty of water. Such feeding is enough for a year. If the juniper grows normally and develops correctly, then after 3-4 years, feeding can be stopped.
Loosening and mulching
Since Juniperus virginiana is a native of rocky areas, a tree needs a lot of oxygen for proper growth. Loosening will help to regularly enrich the root system with the air it needs. It is necessary to loosen the soil under the plant regularly, but carefully (without fanaticism), but once a season it is necessary to carefully cultivate the land around the trunk, remove all extraneous organic matter (branches, leaves, mulch) and dig the ground 2-3 cm deep.
Mulching is also very necessary after planting and in the first year of growth. As mulch, you can use sawdust, coniferous bark, nutshells, etc.. This process is necessary in order to prevent excessive evaporation of moisture, as well as to help maintain the loose soil. The mulch layer should be about 5 cm.
By itself, Juniperus virginiana does not require pruning (the exception is the glaucus hybrid). Juniper with proper care will grow a beautiful, lush tree. The only decorative pruning should be done after winter in order to prune all dried branches..If you wish, you can make decorative pruning to form a crown, but naturally growing juniper most often turns out to be much more beautiful than pruned.
Oddly enough, but preparation for winter is not only to protect the tree from frost, but also to protect it from the sun, and more precisely, from sunburn at the end of the winter period. Before the onset of the first frosts, the soil must be well watered (2-3 buckets of water, depending on the age of the juniper).
Before you shelter a young tree, you need to take an elastic rope or a simple rope and carefully (not tightly) tie all the branches to the trunk in the direction of their growth (as a garland is hung on a spruce, but more densely). This will protect the plant from snow pressure, which can break thin shoots.
After tying up the branches, it is necessary to pick up light (to reflect sunlight), “breathing” fabric (a dense net or specialized burlap for sheltering the trees), cover the tree to the very bottom, and mulch it well with peat or sawdust.
Important! You can’t cover the juniper with polyethylene, since a fungus can start under it and the plant will die by spring.
Possible diseases and pests
The biggest enemy of juniper is fungal diseases.
The most effective way to avoid their occurrence is prevention, which is expressed in:
- processing of trees with any fungicides (in late May-early June);
- thinning plantations;
- preventing excessive flooding of the soil (in the case of groundwater, drainage is necessary).
When infected with fungi, diseased branches must be cut, and the plant should be additionally treated with Fitosporin or another antifungal (antiseptic) agent and, if possible, replace the infected soil.
If the plant is properly looked after, then in a few years the question will arise about its reproduction. Juniperus virginiana, like all its hybrids, propagate in three main ways: seeds, cuttings and layering. Each of them is convenient in its own way, so the gardener can choose the most suitable one for himself.
Propagation by seeds is the most time-consuming method, however, thanks to it, a greater percentage of healthy plants can be achieved.. To obtain seeds, it is necessary to collect ripened fruits and gently rub them to extract seeds.
After this, the seeds must be sent to a solution that stimulates growth for a day, and then for another half hour in a slightly acidic environment. After that, the seeds are fully ready for planting. Soil must be specialized for conifers.
With the help of cuttings
Cuttings - the most popular method of propagation. Typically, cuttings are harvested in late May and early June, however, some gardeners do this before the onset of winter. For this method, it is necessary to cut a mature branch, pick a few cuttings from it, put them in water with a root for 2-3 hours. After this, the shoots are completely ready for planting in open ground.
The method is preferably used in mid-spring. Propagation by layering is suitable only for low junipers, since in order to get a layering it is necessary to lower the lower branches close to the ground. Before breeding, it is necessary to loosen the soil and fertilize it with mineral fertilizers. After that, the lower branches are pinned in the ground with brackets and covered from above with a layer of soil. The place of contact should always be watered, avoiding drying out. The method is the most reliable, although quite time-consuming.
Use in landscape design
As noted in the description, the Virginian juniper is an ornamental plant that can ennoble any site even without an additional neighborhood. This species has an incredible aroma, a beautiful green crown and blue large berries, therefore, only a few identical seedlings will be able to harmoniously complement the gazebo, decorate the building or a small area.
Important! Junipers tolerate transplants very poorly, and can live up to 40 years in one place, so before planting a plant, think carefully about choosing a place to grow it.
Juniper goes well with blueberries, black elderberries or other conifers. When choosing a variety of this juniper, the volume of the crown should be taken into account, since too sprawling branches can occupy the entire site.
So, following fairly simple methods for growing and caring for this type of juniper, you will not have any problems. In turn, this coniferous plant will be a great addition to any landscape design.