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Juniper Winter Care

Evergreen junipers are a great choice to add winter interest to your landscape. They retain their needles year-round and will add color to your winter gardens. There are tens of juniper varieties available that can survive in zones 3 through 9. Make sure to purchase a variety that is hardy in your USDA plant hardiness zone.

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Junipers that are hydrated are less prone to winter burn. Continue watering regularly if rainfall is sparse until the ground freezes. Do not shovel snow away from junipers. Snow is an excellent insulator and will protect your junipers from drying winds. Gently brush away snow if the branches are bending, and you fear they'll snap.

Cutting Back Juniper For Winter

Do not prune your junipers in late summer or autumn. Pruning will encourage new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter begins. Junipers go dormant during the winter months.

Juniper Winter Care in Pots

If the growing container is suitable to remain outside during the winter, you can leave your juniper outdoors. No special care is required. Junipers go dormant during the winter months. If your container is a porous material such as clay or concrete, you can move it indoors to an unheated location. The juniper will still need full sun, and this is not easy to achieve indoors. It's best to use a container that can remain outside during the winter.

Watering Juniper in Winter

There is no need to water junipers growing in the ground during the winter months after the soil has frozen. Container-grown junipers will not need additional moisture unless they are placed under a covered area or moved indoors. The natural rain or snowfall is enough to keep them alive during their dormant period. If your container-grown juniper is in a covered location, add water when the top few inches of soil dry out. 

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Growing Juniper Indoors

Juniper is a plant that is not suitable to be grown indoors. It requires more sunlight than can typically be provided inside a home. Junipers also go through a dormancy period during the winter months and need to be exposed to colder temperatures as part of their growth pattern. 

Steps To Care For Juniper in Winter

Most junipers do not need any extra care during the winter months. Be sure to purchase a juniper that is hardy in your climate zone. If your juniper is borderline hardy, it may be susceptible to winter burn. Follow these steps to lessen the chance for damage from winter burn.

1. Water junipers more often in the fall to ensure they are well hydrated before your first frost.

2. Place 2 or 3 inches of mulch around the tree to conserve moisture and help to maintain a more even soil temperature. Be sure to leave 2 or 3 inches of space between the mulch and the trunk.

3. Add four stakes in a square around the perimeter of the juniper. Use stakes that are taller than the plant. Drape burlap over the stakes and make sure that it does not touch the plant. Use rocks, bricks, or another heavy object to secure the burlap in place. The burlap will lessen the chances of your juniper from drying wind damage.

4. As an alternative to step 3 above, use burlap to create a wind barrier fence two feet from the plant. Place the barrier on the west, south, or the most unprotected side of the plant. Keep the top open if you surround the entire plant.