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Rocky Mountain Juniper

Posted by doccod Z5-6 NM (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 10, 06 at 20:26

Does anyone have experience growing these trees? I just received 50 of these trees as seedlings (6-12") from the State of New Mexico Forestry.

I am going to use these trees for a windbreak, and have 8" wide x 10" deep post holes dug every 2' on a hundred foot row. I know this spacing seems too close, but I thought I can thin when the trees become established.

I have hard, red, clay soil here, should I amend the soil in the holes? How about watering, ferilizer? I have read some many varing opinions about propagation on the internet..

I want these trees to grow as fast as possible, and have plenty of water and soil amendments available.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Rocky Mountain Juniper

My limited experience is that these are not fast growers, and don't like transplanting. They like very little water. I think 2 ft is waaay too close, even if you're going to move. You'll destroy too many roots when you move them. I've lost 2 out of 15 I've planted for clients, hard to get the water just right. Hope you have better luck! You might call Fort Collins Nursery at 800-794-1289 for information. They grow them very successfully.

RE: Rocky Mountain Juniper

My suggestion is to NOT plant them at 2ft intervals - that is too close unless you are going to chop down 2/3 of them. As artful_gardener said, they do not transplant well and they will fill in the space quicker than you can imagine! I got mine as little twigs 2 springs ago (about 6-8 inches tall) - now they are about 3 ft tall and 2 ft across. I only watered them the first year, and they survived last year on their own. Interestingly, they have put on a LOT of growth over this past winter (since last Oct), so make sure you water them all year the first year.

DO NOT amend the holes if you have heavy clay soil. The roots will never grow out of the planting hole if you do this! We have realtively heavy clay soil too. The previous owners of our home did this with several trees - I finally pulled them out last year because these trees were just not thriving, even though the owners said they'd been in the ground for almost 7 years. The planting hole was easy to see and it was filled with potting soil (!!) - and the roots of these poor trees were confined to the planting hole - the roots had wrapped themselves around and around in the hole, but had not ventured out into the clay.

Now I plant ALL of my perennials, shrubs, and trees directly into the unamended dirt. The only thing I do different is for roses, and those I top-dress with manure.

Hope that helps!


RE: Rocky Mountain Juniper

Thank you both for the advice. Unfortunately, I had already planted them before I got any posts.

I did plant them 2 ft apart, but if they need thinning, I will have no problem cutting some out. I have such a high attrition rate here with seedlings from gophers, rabbits and deer, I always overplant.

I also amended the heavy clay soil (OOPS) but I only used about one third compost (cottonburr compost) to two parts soil.

I am glad to hear about the rapid growth rate Nancy experienced, I have heard differing accounts of the growth rate, I was expecting much less.

Thanks again

RE: Rocky Mountain Juniper

Just a follow up, 2 years and now the trees are almost 3 feet tall, just beggining to touch each other. I had drip irrigation installed and water during prolong dry periods (even in the winter). I have only lost 2 of the 50, and I think this was from the boy dogs peeing on them.

It's a good looking little windbreak now, and starting to collect snow in the winter. I bet it will gain a least a foot in height this summer.

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