Juniperus scopulorum ‘BLUE ARROW’
Junipers are extremely easy to grow evergreen conifers. Apart from occasional watering in their first year they need nothing at all. Rocky Mountains juniper comes from the USA and Canada where it makes large forests such as spruce in our climate. It differs from other juniper species in certain aspects which are not important to know if you are not a botanist eager to learn every little detail. We concentrate on differences in varieties which bring extra features to our gardens.
Blue Arrow juniper is as thin as a supermodel. This conifer has a truly slim, columnar habit and attractive blue-green to almost silvery blue colour. It is often compared to another juniper variety called Skyrocket against which it has a big advantage – Blue Arrow has shorter branches that do not bend under the weight of fresh snow. The whole plant has a typical fragrance, especially when you crush the foliage.
Junipers will grow in almost any reasonably drained soil of any pH. Once established it needs no maintenance or watering. In fact it can take long periods of droughts and strong winds. Pruning, if necessary, can be made in early spring or late summer. Fully hardy to about -40°C (USDA zone 3).
Last update 08-02-2013
Skyrocket Juniper Plants: Learn How To Grow A Skyrocket Juniper Bush
Skyrocket juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Skyrocket’) is a cultivar of a protected species. According to Skyrocket juniper info, the plant’s parent is found wild in the Rocky Mountains of North America in dry, rocky soils. The cultivar is widely available and makes a lovely focal point in the landscape. The vertical, tidy growth is a hallmark of the plant and its aromatic leaves add to its appeal. Learn some tips on how to grow a Skyrocket juniper and enjoy its rocketing growth and elegant foliage.
Skyrocket Juniper Info
If you enjoy evergreen trees, Skyrocket juniper plants may be the right fit for your garden. These cultivars are narrow columnar trees that may approach 15 to 20 feet (5-6 m.) in height with a 3- to 12-foot (1-4 m.) spread. The natural growth pattern is part of the plant’s charm and its ease of care adds to the allure. This slow-growing plant takes up to 50 years to reach maturity, which means it can be used in a large container for many years before it must go in ground.
juniper “Skyrocket” is probably the narrowest juniper variety available. The foliage is bluish green, scale-like and aromatic when crushed. Like most junipers, it develops tiny rounded, bluish gray cones that resemble berries. These can take up to two years to fully mature. Even the bark is attractive. It is reddish brown and has an interesting shredding appearance.
In the landscape, Skyrocket juniper plants make a beautiful informal screen when planted en masse. They are also useful as specimen plants and their non-invasive roots mean they can even be used as foundation plantings. Many gardeners are even growing Skyrocket juniper as part of a mixed container display.
How to Grow a Skyrocket Juniper
In commercial settings, juniper “Skyrocket” is propagated with semi-hardwood cuttings. The plant is tolerant of both full and partial sun locations. Soil may be any pH, clay, sand, loam, or even chalky. The biggest requirement is a well-draining location, but the plant also does poorly in high humidity.
It is suitable for United States Department of Agriculture zones 3 to 8. This is an easily transplanted tree that can grow for years in a container and then be moved to a garden bed. Any new plant will need regular watering, but after establishment, this juniper can tolerate brief periods of drought.
The fruit can be considered a moderate litter nuisance but foliage does not produce much mess. Junipers rarely need pruning. Limit trims to removal of dead or damaged wood. Use gloves, as some people are very sensitive to the plant’s sap and oil.
The major disease to watch for when growing Skyrocket juniper is canker, although juniper blight may also occur. Skyrocket may also serve as a host for cedar-apple rust. Few pests attack junipers, probably due to the highly scented oils. Juniper scale, some caterpillars and occasionally aphids may cause minimal damage.
For the most part, this is a low maintenance, easy-care plant with a host of landscape applications and years of regal beauty in the garden.
Garden Q&A: winter challenges upright junipers
Q: I planted some upright junipers in the front of the house in between the windows. They grew well and looked very nice. The problem is that when we have heavy snows, they bend down to the ground and sometimes break off. Is there a different variety of upright juniper or other tall, thin trees that would withstand the weight of the snows without breaking or bending over? I saw some pictures of “Skyrocket” junipers, which I thought seemed to be more compact. Would they be a good choice?
A: There are several upright juniper cultivars that would suit your needs. While none is completely snow-load resistant, selecting an upright variety with narrower, denser growth will provide you with more protection from winter breakage.
That being said, to practically eliminate bending and breaking due to heavy snows, wrap your upright junipers with one or two strands of jute twine each fall. Wrap the twine in a spiral, starting at the base of the tree and working your way up to the terminal point. The twine helps hold the branches together and keeps them from flopping open. Once the danger of snowfall has passed, simply cut the twine off and allow the natural growth to resume.
Juniper varieties that fit the requirements for narrow, dense growth include:
• “Blue Point”: A very stiff and thick selection that is incredibly fast growing. It has a lovely blue color and is noted to withstand high winds and drought. “Blue Point” reaches 10 to 12 feet in height.
• “Robusta Green”: With deep green foliage, this upright juniper is somewhat twisted and contorted. It offers a unique appearance but is slower growing and fairly rigid. It matures at 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide — but it takes a long time to get there.
• “Iowa Juniper”: A great selection with excellent snow-load resistance, this variety is wider at its base than other upright junipers. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall and has a moderate growth rate. It is a little less pencil-like than some of the other selections.
• “Blue Arrow”: Among the tallest and narrowest upright junipers on the market, “Blue Arrow” offers a lovely blue color, extremely fast growth, and is straight as a bean pole. It reaches 12 to 15 feet in height but is only 2 feet wide.
• “Skyrocket”: Probably the easiest upright juniper to find in the nursery trade, this selection also is a good choice. It is very fast growing. It matures at a slightly taller height than “Blue Arrow,” maxing out at 20 feet, and is also a foot or two wider at its base.
One of the most important factors to consider when making your choice is the eventual height combined with the placement of the mature plant. Make sure it isn’t going to wind up growing into the eaves of your house or pushing up into the soffit. Topping upright junipers isn’t a good idea as it encourages fungal diseases and stresses the plant (not to mention how silly the plant looks with its “head” chopped off!).
Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.
Send your gardening or landscaping questions to [email protected] or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
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