Potting Blue Point Juniper
By Karen Carter
“Blue Point” juniper (Juniperus chinensis “Blue Point”) produces dense clusters of blue-green needles and reaches 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide in a natural teardrop shape when planted in the ground. It will, however, stay smaller when its roots are constricted in a container. This evergreen conifer grows outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, and is considered an easy-care plant because it does not need pruning to keep its shape.
Like most juniper plants, “Blue Point” juniper is tolerant of nearly every type of soil except heavy, waterlogged soil, which causes the tree’s needles to turn yellow. Do not use garden soil in containers; it can contain garden pests and transmit plant disease. instead, mix together two parts potting soil and one part compost to create well-draining soil with plenty of slow-release nutrients.
Use a plant pot that is a couple of inches larger than the original container. Planting a small tree in a large container provides the roots with too much water, which can cause root rot. Add a couple of inches of gravel on the bottom of the container to improve drainage and add weight to the base of the plant so it does not tip over.
Keep the root ball of the juniper intact when removing it from its plant pot. Loosen the roots only around the edges and spread them outward over the top of a mound of potting soil in the new container. Plant the tree at the same level as it was previously growing. Pack soil around the root ball and water the soil well to settle it. Add more soil to bring the dirt level up to a couple of inches from the container rim. Place a water pan underneath the container if you plan to place the juniper on a surface susceptible to water damage.
“Blue Point” juniper trees in containers benefit from the addition of 1 to 3 inches of leaf or bark mulch. Do not pile the mulch up on the tree trunk because it can encourage rot on the trunk. Mulching the soil around the base of the juniper slows the loss of water and helps keep the roots at a constant temperature.
Once potted, the “Blue Point” juniper requires watering during the first summer. Water it weekly when there has been no rainfall. Soak the soil until water runs out the bottom of the container. Once the tree is established in the pot, water it only when the soil dries out.
Karen Carter spent three years as a technology specialist in the public school system and her writing has appeared in the "Willapa Harbor Herald" and the "Rogue College Byline." She has an Associate of Arts from Rogue Community College with a certificate in computer information systems.
Any experience with blue point junipers?
Our house came with builder-installed Blue Points. I wouldn't have chose them myself, and especially not right up to the house, but oh well. No issues with browning, but wow, they're a pain to keep trimmed. So many clumps of needles fall, it's impossible to pick them all up, and then they die and are like little needles in my fingers when I work in the beds ... even with heavy leather gloves on. I go back and forth (and have for 12 yrs) about taking them out. I hate having to butcher things into unnatural states, but also hate ripping things out. I get too attached to my plants.
These two I trimmed up as little lollipop trees, they were covering too much house. There is another one, far left corner, that I keep short and bushy.
The one on the left here is probably going to have to go. It's leaning forward, and too big for the spot. What are builders thinking?! I'm tired of trimming it.
They are great for Christmas lights, true! All in red here:
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Every garden needs permanence – structural plants that are always there, without changing too much with the seasons. Evergreens, and especially conifers, provide that stability and allow us to make screens, specimens, foundation planting and backgrounds for other plants. These plants also have their own natural beauty, often through foliage color.
Among these plants, Juniper trees stand out. These tough, reliable evergreens thrive in cold or heat, in almost all soils, and look great all year round. They need no maintenance, unless you want to trim them for extra neatness, and most of all, they add interesting colors through their foliage. There are many different junipers, collected from around the world, both spreading and upright. For a reliable upright form, with excellent blue foliage color and dense growth, look no further than the Blue Point Juniper.
Growing Blue Point Junipers
The Blue Point Juniper has proved its worth for the last 50 years, and it remains the number-one choice, with foliage of a striking silver-blue color all year round. It grows steadily, adding 6 to 12 inches each year, and reaching 10 to 12 feet in just 10 years. Like all conifers it will continue to grow for its whole life, so its ultimate size depends on age. When young it is narrow, and very upright, but over time it will become broader and more substantial, until its width is about two-thirds of its height. Of course, it can easily be trimmed from time to time to keep a narrower profile.
Plant the Blue Point Juniper in a sunny location, where its color and foliage density will develop best. We often plant deciduous trees on lawns, but evergreen plants like this make striking lawn specimens that don’t take up a lot of room, and the blue foliage color is even more dramatic against the lush green of a lawn. It is also excellent around your home, as part of the foundation planting, placed in a corner, or between windows. Don’t plant in front of a window, as its final height will obscure it, but beside a window or doorway it makes a great low-maintenance addition to the varied sizes and colors of plants around your home. Allow room for the final width when planting, and leave about 3 feet clearance for doors, from walls, or beside windows.
Using Blue Point Junipers as a Screen
Another effective use for the Blue Point Juniper is as a screen. Planted in a row, these tough trees will block cold winds and snow in the north just as well as block hot, drying winds in the south. Plant your trees 2 to 3 feet apart for a dense screen, or 4 to 5 feet apart for an avenue that will still reduce wind and give protection, even before the plants eventually join up.
This reliable tree grows in any well-drained soil, and once established it is very drought resistant. In hotter states water occasionally through the hot months, but for reliability without needing attention, this plant is hard to beat. It has no significant pest or diseases. For stronger, more rapid growth, apply an evergreen fertilizer in spring.
You can trim this plant at almost any time but avoid doing so during the hottest and coldest months. In cold areas, don’t trim in late fall, as new growth may be burned when winter soon arrives. Use sharp tools for trimming, to avoid ragged cuts, which can then brown, detracting from the beauty of your trees.
History and Origins of the Blue Point Juniper
The Blue Point Juniper is a selected form of the Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) which grows naturally in China, Mongolia and Japan. In nature it forms a large tree to 60 feet tall, growing on hillsides and in rocky places. It has been grown in gardens in Western countries since its introduction in 1804, and many different forms have been developed.
The leaves of this tree are of two types. On younger trees they are pointed, and these juvenile leaves give the plant a fuzzy texture. As the tree grows older, more adult leaves develop, which cling flat to the stems, creating smoother growth. The Blue Point Juniper is a selected form of this tree, that was found in the early 1970s at Monrovia Nursery in Visalia, California. It was chosen for its outstanding blue foliage color, and its strong, upright habit. It has proved its value since then and remains a reliable choice for any garden.
Buying Blue Point Junipers at The Tree Center
Our plants are grown from stem pieces taken from correctly named plants. They are not cheap seedling trees and they will grow as exact copies of the original parent plant. Seedling trees are inferior and very variable, and you cannot predict how they will develop, or what color their foliage will be. This well-known plant is a popular choice with out customers, so order now, while our limited stocks remain available.
Can Blue Point Juniper Be Planted Near a House?
By Stephanie Green
"Blue Point" juniper (Juniperus chinensis "Blue Point") has several traits that make it a popular plant for landscaping. The tree’s pyramidal shape and blue-green foliage can contrast nearby plants' shape and color. Planted in a group, "Blue Point" juniper serves as a windbreak. The tree grows moderately, reaching 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide at maturity, and it is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Considering all that this juniper cultivar has to offer, be selective where you place it, but don't put it near a house because it is a highly flammable plant.
Fire Safety Zones
In California, state law requires homeowners to maintain a 100-foot defensible space around their homes. The first zone, which is called the Lean, Clean and Green Zone, is designed to keep fire from spreading from plant to plant and then to the house, according to the University of California, Sonoma County Master Gardeners' website. In that zone, flammable materials, including some plants, are not to be planted within 30 feet of the house. In the second zone, the Reduced Fuel Zone, keep materials an additional 70 feet away from the house. This space further protects the home from a fire and gives firefighters adequate space to work in the event of an emergency.
"Blue Point" juniper has a low-moisture content, which makes it highly flammable. Its highly volatile oils, resins or waxes and woody branches make it quick to burn or burst into fire. The highly flammable traits of junipers in general have earned juniper the nickname “the gasoline plant” among firefighters. Because no juniper is firesafe, the University of California, Sonoma County Master Gardeners recommend avoiding juniper when selecting plants.
Other plants, however, are safer to plant in the appropriate zones of a landscape. "Coronation Gold" yarrow (Achillea "Coronation Gold"), which is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9, is a moisture-rich alternative to "Blue Point" juniper. It produces clusters of yellow flowers and silvery foliage, grows 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall and is simple to care for, thriving in a site with full-sun exposure and low moisture. Another option is lavender cotton (Santolina chamaecyparissus), hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9. It also has yellow flowers but in a buttonlike size rather than large clusters like "Coronation Gold" yarrow. Lavender cotton requires full sun and grows well in sandy or loamy soil.
When planning a landscape, the placement of plants is as important as the kinds of plants used, according to the University of California, Sonoma County Master Gardeners. Sufficient spacing is critical to create a firesafe landscape. Include non-flammable elements such as gravel, rock walls and/or flagstone for interest and to separate the plants literally and visually.
Stephanie Green is a writer with more than 10 years of experience. Her work has been published in various lifestyle and trade publications, covering parenting, gardening and human-interest stories. Green holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Tree blue point juniper patio
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