Wichita Blue Juniper

$120

3-4 ft.

Description

I. General Information

  • Common name: Rocky Mountain juniper, Wichita Blue Rocky Mountain Juniper
  • Scientific name/Botanical name: Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita’
  • Family name: Cupressaceae
  • Type: Needled evergreen
  • Origin: Pacific Northwest, USA
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Growing Zones: 3 – 7
  • Mature Height: 15-25 ft
  • Mature Width: 6-8 ft
  • Sunlight: Full sun
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Uses: Small landscape tree. Screen. Backgrounds.

II. Identification

  • Leaf: Evergreen
  • Bloom period: Non-flowering
  • Flower color: Non-flowering

III. Description

Wichita Blue Juniper is an attractive evergreen needle tree, with rich blue-grey foliage that retains its color throughout the year. It does not turn brown even in the coldest winters, as some evergreens do.

If you like the look of a Rocky Mountain juniper but have a small garden, Wichita Blue is a good alternative. Excellent choice for difficult landscape situations, makes an effective evergreen hedge

IV. Planting & Care

The Juniper Wichita Blue (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita’) is a coniferous plant in the genus Juniperus, of the Cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the mountains of Central America. Wichita Blues mature to a height of 15-25 feet tall and a width of 6-8 feet wide. They are most commonly suited for USDA growing zones 3-7 making them quite popular for Northern states as they can take quite a bit of cold.

Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known for the primary flavoring in gin (and are responsible for gin’s name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for juniper, genever). Juniper berries are also used as the primary flavor in the liquor Jenever and sahti-style of beers. The Juniper berries sauce is often a popular flavoring choice for quail, pheasant, veal, rabbit, venison and other meat dishes. In Morocco, the tar (gitran) of the arar tree (Juniperus phoenicea) is applied in dotted patterns on bisque drinking cups. Gitran makes the water more fragrant and is said to be good for the teeth. Juniper berries are steam distilled to produce an essential oil that may vary from colorless to yellow or pale green.

Location: Plant plenty of Juniper Wichita Blue anywhere you have lots of excess empty space. This hardy, reliable plant works well as a living screen, as a hedge or windbreak. The dense foliage does a good job in shielding you from a bad view, the wind, or from nosy neighbors. The juniper Wichita blue also makes a spectacular specimen plant in the middle of the lawn or in a planting with ground cover and other contrasting plants. It makes for a lovely corner piece. You can use it to add vertical interest along a fence or wall. Plant the Juniper Wichita Blue with a mimosa or pepper tree for visual contrast. The boughs can be added to holiday wreaths for a nice color. This shrub is suitable for xeriscaping.

Planting instructions: The Wichita Blue should be planted in a sunny spot. Full sun is preferred and moist or well-drained soil for your tree. If planting a hedge, mark out a visual guide by placing stakes five to six feet apart and looping string around them. Plant the trees where the stakes are and they’ll grow together to make a dense privacy screen.

1) Dig each hole so that it is just shallower than the root ball and at least three times the width. Organic mulches, such as wood chips or pine needles, also help to better soil structure as they decompose.
2) Position the tree into the hole and hold it straight.
3) Begin back filling the hole, tamping down the soil as you fill to prevent any air pockets from forming.
4) Water the planting site to completely settle the soil and then mulch around the base. Mulching helps retain your soil’s moisture and assists with keeping competitive growth away such as weeds and grasses.

Watering: The Juniper Wichita Blue suit most soil conditions and will happily live anywhere that is not too wet. This shrub is drought-tolerant once established and should be monitored for signs of additional watering if necessary; though, over watering is not advised. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Watering can be reduced after establishment.

Fertilization: Established Juniper Wichita Blue can benefit from fertilization. Take a visual inventory of your landscape. Wichita Blues need to be fertilized every few years. It is best to avoid fertilizing late in the growing season. Applications made at that time can force lush, vegetative growth that will not have a chance to harden off before the onset of cold weather.

Pruning: Pruning is only necessary to preserve a trim pyramidal shape, removing a dead branch, or if you want a more formal hedge. Height may also be managed through judicious pruning.

Pests and Disease: The Juniper Wichita Blue should be resistant to damage from deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. It does, however, attract birds due to the sweet berries it produces. Some junipers are susceptible to Gymnosporangium or rust disease, and can be a serious problem for those people growing apple trees, the alternate host of the disease.

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