Pencil point juniper is an accent tree that will capture the attention of your visitors and anyone who can see them.
Even though pencil point juniper trees produce dark cone fruits, their main purpose in the garden or yard is to beautify it as they are great trees especially if you have limited space.
The fruits of pencil point juniper trees are not edible, though they are sometimes used as ingredients to make gin. Continue reading to learn the easiest way to grow this beautiful tree.
- What Is a Pencil Point Juniper Tree?
- Pencil Point Juniper Care Tips
What Is a Pencil Point Juniper Tree?
The pencil point juniper is an evergreen tree characterized by its slim shape. This is a slow or moderate-growing tree that increases by 5cm per annum and can grow up to 5 feet tall and around 1 foot in width. The tree has blue-green leaves and looks a lot like an inverted exclamation mark.
Pencil Point Juniper Care Tips
The pencil point juniper tree is a very beautiful tree and a popular choice in beautiful gardens and yards. While the beauty of this accent tree is second to none, its most desirable feature is that it is very hardy and can tolerate urban pollution such as high temperatures and dust.
Pencil point junipers are very easy to care for as long as you water and feed them when you need to. This species of tree is low-maintenance but can be a bit challenging if you neglect its needs.
Read the following tips to learn how to grow and care for pencil point juniper trees.
– Soil Requirements
As a beautiful accent tree, you can grow your pencil point juniper directly in the ground or in a large container. You do not need to buy any special potting mix for your container pencil point juniper trees. All you need is to amend the garden soil with perlite and vermiculite to help it drain quickly.
Pencil point juniper is a special tree of choice because it can grow in poor soil. As long as the soil is not soggy and there are other plants (aside from grass) growing in it, your pencil point juniper trees can grow in it as well. You should not grow your trees in plain sand because they can have stunted growth in such soil.
– Water Requirements
You need to pay attention to your watering rate especially when your pencil point juniper trees are still young. Try to water the young trees in the morning so that excess water can evaporate from the soil surface during the day. Remember that your trees will not grow healthily in soggy soil.
During the hot days of summer, you can spray the tree leaves with droplets of water. You do not need to water your junipers in the autumn and winter months, but always check the soil moisture and water the plant if the soil looks and feels dry. If you have an aquarium, you can water your junipers with the spent aquarium water.
– Light Requirements
Light is important for your trees as light serves as a source of energy. Without light, your pencil point juniper trees will die as they can no longer perform any essential processes. This means that you do not want to prevent your trees from accessing as much light as they need.
Make sure that your pencil point juniper trees have six or more hours of sunlight daily. They can also tolerate shaded light but will grow faster in full sun. In the summer months, you can shade the trees from excess light (especially in the afternoon). Plant your trees in a place where no large object can block the light from reaching them.
– Humidity Requirements
You do not need to worry much about humidity when you are growing a tree such as a pencil point juniper. These trees can withstand a wide range of humidity levels and can even grow well in below-average humidity levels. Pencil point junipers are well-adapted to arid zones, but it would help if the humidity level is around 50 percent.
You can also grow pencil point juniper trees in windy locations. Other plants hate the wind because it can destroy their leaves and branches as well as decrease the humidity. Well, pencil point junipers seem to be fine with the wind, so they are suitable trees to break the wind.
– Temperature Requirements
Pencil point juniper is a cold-hardy tree that can withstand temperatures lower than -50 degrees Fahrenheit. This species is well-suited for USDA hardiness zones 2 to 6, so you should consider growing other types of trees if you do not live in zones 2 to 6.
Temperature is an important factor to consider when you are growing plants because the stress caused by temperatures in the plant can either lead to stunted growth or death. Pencil point junipers are temperate trees, so you do not want to grow them in tropical or subtropical regions. Growing your trees in the right region or zone is very important.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Pencil point juniper trees do not need excess nutrients in the soil, so all you need to do to grow this tree without buying extra fertilizer is to amend the soil with organic matter such as rotted manure and compost.
Just make sure that the soil is not entirely nutrient-depleted. If you want to feed your trees, however, you should use a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) for your junipers.
You can feed them slow-release fertilizers or even liquid ones. Just make sure that you do not overfeed them. If you see the leaves of your pencil point juniper burning (i.e. drying from the borders), you should reduce your feeding rate. A general rule is to feed your plants once every month or two during summer and spring.
Pruning helps trees and plants to stay in shape while retaining their beauty. As for pencil point juniper trees, however, they have this remarkable feature of staying tight (i.e. in shape) for years, so you may not need to prune your tree for a very long time.
If you see dying or weak leaves in your trees, you should remove them so that the trees can remain beautiful. If you eventually decide to prune your juniper pencil point trees, do so only once in a while because pruning them too regularly can lead to stunted growth.
These plants are not fast growers, so you do not want to decrease the pencil point juniper growth rate even further.
Take note that there is the dwarf pencil point juniper variety that has an even slower growth rate.
– Getting Your Pencil Point Juniper
You can easily find young pencil point juniper trees in plant nurseries and online stores. You can even check any nearby landscaping stores for this tree and others. Make sure that you check the tree leaves and petioles to ensure that they are healthy.
Bringing home a healthy pencil point juniper will save you a lot of worries as they will eliminate over half the problems that you can face when growing this tree. Do not buy pencil point juniper trees that look weak and sick.
Also, avoid trees with visible scars or spots on their leaves. If there are many trees to choose from, go for the ones with medium height and not the very tall or short ones.
– How to Plant it
You should dig multiple holes in the yard for your pencil point juniper trees. Make sure that the holes are in a straight line or they match your plan. The height of these holes should be the same as that of the tree nursery bags. All you need to do is to tear the bags with care and then transfer the tree (including the substrate) into the hole.
You can use the same principle if you want to grow your pencil point juniper in pots. Just make sure that you properly amend the substrate before you plant the tree.
– Suitable Mulch
Should you mulch your trees? Well, mulch serves various purposes but juniper trees do not need mulch to survive. However, some reasons why you may want to mulch your trees include:
- To avoid excess evaporation: Mulch helps to prevent moisture in the soil from evaporating quickly.
- Beauty: If you use inorganic mulch such as gravel and pebbles, you will see how beautiful your yard will become.
- Fertilizer: Some organic mulch products such as wood shavings decompose slowly and add extra nutrients to the soil.
It is totally up to you to mulch your pencil point juniper trees, but it would be an excellent choice if you do.
Propagating your pencil point juniper tree is easy, though it requires patience. The best time of the year to propagate the tree is from July to November as that is the period of its active growth. To propagate your pencil point juniper, collect any semi-hardwood that is at least 8 inches tall.
If there are many branches attached to the cutting, remove the lower ones and make 1-inch slits on the bottom part of the hardwood so that it can easily absorb moisture from the substrate. After making the slits, you should dip the hardwood into a rooting hormone so that it can develop roots.
Plant the hardwood into a container with suitable soil or potting mix and continue watering it until it shows some signs of growth. In a few weeks, you should notice new leaves growing. While the presence of new leaves can tell you that your plant is growing, you should note that it will first develop roots before producing leaves.
When your pencil point juniper plant is matured enough or has gotten many matured leaves, you can now transfer it into its permanent location in your garden or yard. If you’d love to grow it in a container, make sure that the container is large enough and has at least four large drainage holes.
Pencil point juniper trees may be hardy, but there are a few mistakes you can make that can harm your tree. Here are some problems associated with the tree and ways to avoid or solve them:
If you notice that the leaves of your pencil point juniper tree are becoming yellow or are falling off the tree, you could be overwatering it. Pencil point junipers prefer slightly dry to soggy soil, so you want to pay attention to your watering technique.
You should cut back on the rate at which you water your trees. Observe the trees for some days to make sure that they are healing and are growing healthy green leaves. If you notice that the situation is getting worse even after reducing your watering rate, your plant could either have a disease or may be lacking sufficient light.
– Insufficient Light
Aside from the yellowing of your pencil point juniper leaves, you can tell that the tree is lacking light when it looks sad and unproductive. The leaves look firm and not weak when you grow them under sufficient light. If you are growing your pencil point juniper in a large container, you should consider moving it to a better and more well-lit location.
For trees in your garden or yard, try removing any object that is blocking sunlight from reaching them. Always remember that your pencil point junipers need at least six hours of sunlight daily in the growing season.
While they can tolerate slightly less amounts of sunlight, you should try to give them sufficient light especially when they show signs of light deficiency.
– Plant Disease
Diseases such as bacterial blight, fungi attack or root rot are common in pencil point juniper trees. Note that root rot will mostly attack your trees when you overwater them, so you want to avoid overwatering the trees. As for bacterial blight or fungi, they can attack your pencil point juniper either through dirty tools or contaminated soil.
You should spray your pencil point juniper fungicides and bactericides occasionally and when you notice some signs of diseases in the tree. Some signs of diseases in your pencil point junipers include yellowing of the leaves and irregular spots on the surface of the leaves.
You are now a pro in growing and propagating pencil point juniper trees, right? Just remember the substrate, temperature, water and nutrients needs of your plant and you are good to go. Here are some useful reminders for you:
- Pencil point junipers are cold-hardy and you should grow them if you live in USDA hardiness zones 2-6.
- These trees can grow in poor soil, just make sure to feed them occasionally.
- You do not need to prune your pencil point junipers as they can stay tight for long.
- You do not need to feed your trees if the soil is nutrient-rich.
- Make sure to use sterilized tools for your trees and water them only when needed to prevent bacterial blight, root rot and other diseases.
Do remember to return to this guide if you forget the care requirements to grow pencil point juniper trees.