A Touch of Class – the Skyrocket Juniper
Sometimes gardeners and landscapers want a classical, subtle and classy look to their gardens and the Skyrocket juniper can certainly oblige with that! This juniper tree is a cultivar of the Juniperus virginiana, or the Eastern red cedar, which is a native to the US. It’s an evergreen and gardeners love it for its neat, upright, slim columns and its gently aromatic foliage which sports a silvery-blue cast.
These trees make for great screening and hedge plants and as an added bonus, the birds can’t get enough of their blue berries!
More about the Skyrocket
According to The Tree Center Skyrocket juniper trees grow from 20 to 35 feet in height and can spread up to eight feet in width. It can manage two feet of growth per season, which is pretty fast if you’re after a screening plant and its canopy tends to be symmetrical, which is brilliant if you’re aiming for a formal look.
These trees have very dense canopies, with closely-packed branches bearing complex-looking leaves. The leaves are around two inches long with a small spine or spike at each tip. A defining feature of the Skyrocket juniper is that its leaves are often silvery-blue in the spring and summer, tending towards brown in fall and winter.
The fruits and flowers of the Skyrocket juniper
The Skyrocket juniper blooms in spring. Its flowers are yellow or green, quite inconspicuous and also dioecious – so male on one tree, female on another. The female trees develop dark purple or blue berries which serve to feed birds throughout fall and winter.
How to grow your Skyrocket juniper
This tree prefers to be planted somewhere where it’ll receive six hours or more of direct sunlight each day. It can tolerate some shade, but any more than four to six hours of shade will make it more prone to pests and diseases. It can thrive well in dry soil, loam, sand and even clay, but can’t handle overly wet or poor-draining soils. The pH of the soil isn’t a big factor, although it prefers slightly acidic if possible.
A really versatile tree, the Skyrocket juniper will grow happily in USDA zones 3 to 9 and it can tolerate salt spray, compacted soil and drought.
Planting and aftercare
The Skyrocket juniper is tricky to transplant once it’s established, so it’s best to plant it while it’s still small. Most experts recommend that the tree is watered well until it’s well-established and then left largely to its own devices. There’s not much need to prune and the Skyrocket juniper doesn’t create much of a mess at all, apart from the odd fallen berry.
Pests and other problems
There are no serious pests or diseases that affect this tree, although it is somewhat susceptible to bagworm caterpillars, mites, aphids, boring beetles and juniper scale. It can also succumb to twig blight, root rot and various types of rust. In fact, the Skyrocket juniper is something of a rust host, so try not to plant it within a few hundred yards of hawthorn, apple or crab-apple trees if you can avoid it.
(this is a collaborative post)