Description of common juniper
Juniper (Juniperus) belongs to about 70 species of the Cypress family. (Cupresaceae), and is the largest group originating from the Northern Hemisphere, where it is widely distributed. In Europe, only common juniper grows
Juniper at home varies in size: growing as a large shrub or tree up to 15 m tall, with a columnar or conical shape and thin reddish bark. The most common juniper is ordinary and petiolate. Common juniper, known for its very slow growth, also breaks longevity records.
Shrub with branches pressed to the ground, arranged in several levels, in adulthood only 60 cm high, while the crown is spreading up to 3 m. It is used as a ground cover plant on slopes, to decorate rocky hills.
Juniper in landscape design
Now new varieties of common juniper have appeared: dwarf and compact forms, creeping, columnar forms, weeping trees. Some species can even be grown as bonsai.
The needles are green with a silvery sheen. Juniper wood is pink and fragrant. The leaves are small and spiny, the male flowers are yellow and the female flowers are blue. The famous juniper berries are actually small cones. Spherical and fleshy fruits look like berries. They are made up of scales that have fused together to form a fleshy, berry-like structure around a hard seed. This is best recognized while they are still green and immature.
Pay Animation! Juniper is dioecious, which means that both female and male specimens are found in nature. To harvest, you need to plant a male and female bush.
It can take up to seven years for the first flowering of female bushes. The buds/berries take another two years to mature. Fruits with a diameter of 4 to 8 mm, spherical. Bluish in the first year, they become mature in the second year, black to bluish in color. The fruits have a bittersweet taste and a pleasant spicy aroma. They are used in cooking and have medicinal properties.
Horizontal junipers are added to flower arrangements in summer cottages, garden plots. They rise above the ground by no more than 15 cm.
To plant a juniper as a hedge, a distance between plants of at least 70 centimeters should be provided. Because it is a slow growing shrub, it is a good species for gardens, especially the dwarf forms if small conifers are desired.
Juniper care at home
This popular coniferous shrub grows slowly and does not require special care, easily adapting to any conditions. Withstands adverse environmental conditions: resistant to low temperatures and drought.
Place them in a sunny place or in partial shade. They suffer in the shade (for example, under high treetops), as they are very photophilous. Resistant to cold (down to -20°C), undemanding to the soil, they are suitable for acidic and alkaline soil.
Growing common juniper
Juniper in the garden is not uncommon. The culture has an attractive appearance and has healing properties. Planting and caring for it requires knowledge of some nuances.
It is better to plan the planting of juniper outdoors in early spring after the snow cover has melted, without waiting for stable heat.
When planting plants in the autumn period, frost is a great danger. You can plant juniper in the fall between September and November. In the case of planting seedlings in the fall, it will be necessary to cover them with covering material, since the root system has not yet matured.
Additional Information! Only in the first years, homemade juniper should be watered in dry conditions, in the future the plant copes without additional watering. Avoid over-watering if the soil is slowly draining, it does not support the soil loaded with water.
Regular use of fertilizers strengthens the winter hardiness of plants. In April, during the first four years, a special fertilizer for conifers is applied to the soil.
To keep the juniper at home in good shape, cut off its branches. However, do this as little as possible and, above all, never touch the top. Juniper tolerates pruning well, it can be done all year round, but better in spring or autumn.
Winter protection. Well-rooted juniper is quite hardy and does not require winter shelter.
How to propagate juniper at home
It can be propagated by seeds, layering, cuttings or seedlings. It is best to breed juniper cuttings at home. Creating new plants from cuttings is in many cases a simple and relatively quick method.
Creating new plants from cuttings
New plants propagated by cuttings retain the characteristics of the parent plants. Semi-woody cuttings are taken in early autumn (September-October).
- Cut cuttings 7-15 cm long from strong and healthy shoots at the top of the plant.
- Leaves are removed from the base to the middle of the shoot.
- The base of the cutting is dipped in the rooting hormone and placed in the substrate in a small pot.
- Water the cuttings and cover them with a transparent plastic bag to retain moisture.
- Place the pot in a warm place without direct sunlight. You can still place the graft indoors.
When new leaves appear on the stem (after about 2.5 months), the roots of the new plant will be satisfactorily developed. Transplantation should be done when the roots are strong enough.
Additional Information! It is easy to root, especially creeping forms, by branching. Branches must be fixed to the ground. This can be done with iron hooks or simply pressed down with a stone. For better germination, an incision is made on the bark of the branch at the point of contact with the ground. In the next season, they can be separated from the mother plant and transplanted to another permanent place.
Breeding varieties are bred in nurseries by grafting. Enlargement by seeds usually fails. Seed propagation is difficult as germination can take up to 5 years.
Juniper rarely encounters diseases, but can be affected by both fungal diseases and pests. Common pests: aphids, moths, bark beetles, leaf miners, scale insects, caterpillars and root nematodes. When juniper is attacked by spider mites, the juniper foliage becomes discolored, small cobwebs form at the ends of the leaves.
Mealybug attacks release honeydew that attracts fungi over time. Shchitovka is another common pest of juniper, which can cause curvature and browning of shoots and, consequently, their death. To get rid of it without chemicals, it is best to cut and burn the affected leaves immediately.
Other possible problems are rust, canker, dieback, gummosis, wood rot. Root rot is a fungus that damages the root system and moves up the trunk. If you provide the plant with nutrients and cut off the affected branches, the juniper will find the strength to fight this invasion on its own.
Rust is a disease caused by various fungi and develops mainly from early spring to late summer. Juniper can survive rust attacks. The worst thing that can happen to him is that he will lose all the leaves. What needs to be avoided is the spread of the disease. In this way, parts of the plant that show signs of rust are removed and burned as soon as they appear. There are also organic pesticides against this disease that can be used for both preventive and curative purposes.
The use of common juniper
Since ancient times, juniper has been of great importance as a spicy and medicinal plant. The fruits of the shrub are popular as a culinary spice. with a pleasant, pronounced taste. They are harvested when they are ripe, that is, when they have darkened. making it suitable for flavoring foods and alcoholic beverages, especially gin and liquor.
All parts of the plant exhibit tonic, purifying, diuretic, diaphoretic and gastric properties. Edible berries are known for their healing properties: they treat digestive problems and relieve inflammatory pain.
Juniper berries in
On sale, you can often find essential oils obtained from a plant. Essential oil contained in juniper, with more than 60 active substances,
Topical application of diluted juniper essential oil is beneficial in the treatment of various forms of arthritis and rheumatic pains. The application promotes the removal of toxins from the tissues due to its slight warming effect.