Common Juniper (Juniperus communis)
A small native, British evergreen tree, Juniper (Juniperus communis) will reach a final height of 6-10m after 20+ years and may form into a low spreading shape (a bit like most middle aged men!). Expect a spread of 2.5 to 4m. Its prickly, thorny foliage has a scent of apples when crushed. Identifiable by its small silver backed needles, prickly to touch, which are arranged in whorls of 3. Its berries are used to flavour gin although technically they are not berries but cones and are appealing to birds. Expect the bush to produce berries from 2 years onwards but can take as long as 8.
Protection from sheep, deer, rodent and bird damage is recommended e.g. 60cm tree shelters. Previous Forestry Commission plantings at Moray using these shelters improved growth rates by almost 100% (4cm to 7.5) and changed their form to a more upright shape.
Grows well on a wide range of well draining soils (will tolerate drought) and extremes of temperature although we draw the line at International Space Station window boxes. Best results come from low Nitrogen soils which are usually found in low or high PH soils.
As with most young seedlings, weed and other vegetation control is important as this can reduce survival rate to around 50% after 5 years (taken from the Moray planting experiment)
The berries are green when young and mature to a purple black colour which can take 18 months depending on local conditions.
Requires very little if any pruning and does particularly well in hot sunny sites. They can live up to 170 years so that is a lot of "not pruning".
One of the outstanding features of Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) is that it is a bit like sand on a picnic, found everywhere. It has the largest geographic range of any woody plant on the planet, found from Alaska to Mexico.
Low hanging branches covered in soil can develop their own roots.
Further Reading About Juniper:
Growing Juniper: Propagation And Establishment Techniques
Juniper Planting Guidance
Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) Going Brown
During the colder times of year, you may get some Juniper plants that are a little brown. This is a reaction to the cold and is perfectly normal. As these are grown in trays and the inner plants are protected somewhat from the cold and do not turn brown so in essence, the brown trees are normal, it is actually the green foliage that is not performing as expected!
Male and Female treesA pack of Juniper trees should produce on average 80% that are female and berry bearing.
As through out most of nature, the male trees are all show and only produce flowers. It is the female plant that goes through the bearing berry stage and never lets the male plants forget how much pain they went through doing so. Apparently the amount of pain tolerated by the female in berry bearing would kill the average male plant but then our information comes from a female plant so we suspect the viewpoint expressed may be jaded and not unbiased.
Juniper Tree Seed Provenance
All the saplings are grown from seed supplied by multiple trees in the Highlands therefore increasing genetic diversity. It also means if you hear lines being shouted from the film Braveheart from your garden, that these Juniper trees may be responsible for that.
How Long Before Berries Are Produced
As usual, local conditions affect your waiting time. We have customers in the Midlands saying it took 6 years from time of purchase for ripe berries to be produced. From that we would say those in the South may have slightly less of a wait and those in the North maybe slightly longer.
Woodland Design Principles
Typically, Juniper is planted in groups of between 10 and 25 trees along the woodland edge. This number of trees is ideal for creating a wildlife habitat and a meaningful source of food and shelter. Spacing may vary between 1m (3ft 4in) and 5m (16ft 8in). The aim is to mimic what nature intended and thus avoid artificial lines. Blending of one species into another is suggested although bearing in mind different growth rates. Aspen is a minor native tree species and along with the many other native, British tree and shrub species we sell will form part of an attractive native woodland.
Rabbit and Deer Protection
We offer a range of tree shelters that will protect your trees against possible attack. Click on this Tree Protection Link and it will take you to all of these products.
Benefits of using our plug plant trees
Our trees are sold as plug plants, in other words the roots are encased in compost. This means that planting can be carried out at any time of the year, provided they are watered in periods of drought, compared to bare-root plants which can only be planted during the plants normal dormant period (November to March). All of these trees are UK grown, which is important for successful establishment.
See What Our Customers Are Saying About Our Juniperus Communis Cell Grown Trees
Dear Alan Senior Dogsbody, Your trees arrived well packed and in good condition, I planted them right away, they tell me they like it here. They are junipers , my friend ( an Arbourist no less) recons I need to wait 30 years before I can make Gin, good job I'm cutting back on alcohol anyway, Thanks, great plants Best Wishes from the windy North Pennines Anne 0119
Just to say my junipers are all very well behaved and a joy to behold. Merry Christmas 🎄. Kind regards Linda 1218
Dear Senior Dogsbody, Firstly many thanks for the Juniper bushes and holly which arrived within a few days of ordering and safely, though some jostling for attention occurred among the Juniper’s on initial inspection. But no harm done....The Juniper were planted in equal distance between Junipers I received from you last autumn (order number lost in the mists of thyme). Those poor darlings were planted out last autumn, and have been through two “beasts from the East’s” but have survived remarkably well. I have no doubt that having endured that winter, they will be here for a few century’s to come. There is a striking difference in appearance between the one’s received last year and this years, so I planted them alternately in the hope of increasing physical attraction (their’s, not mine) to each other - see attached photo’s. They have obviously settled in nicely - partly because of the lovely sunny weather we’ve had for months now, and the regular watering and taking to I give them, because we hear them in the evenings and early morning gently singing Donovan songs and swaying in the breeze.................Please feel free to use this piece of scientific observation for your website.Regards, Juniper John 0718
The 12 Juniper trees arrived this afternoon safe and sound. They are beautiful, healthy and strong. Thank you. Mr C Scatchard 1013
Juniper trees just arrived, look to be in good shape. Thanks, Patti 0713
Our little junipers arrived in really good condition and and now happily in position in the garden. Liz 0613
Dear Alan (a.k.a. Senior Dogsbody), Feel free to use the following - "In the middle of a program of planting a couple of hundred trees I tried "Trees Online" because my usual supplier could not supply what I needed. I am impressed. Fast delivery, extremely well packed and first class plants. Alan - you have another regular customer! Well done, excellent service." Regards Richard Froggatt. 0213