Thursday, December 4, 2014

Featured Plant of The Day: 'Pyramidalis' Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana 'Pyramidalis'
    Eastern Red Cedar,  Silver Cedar,  Burk Eastern Red Cedar,  Silver Eastern Red Cedar

Type    Tree, woody plant
Hardy range    2B to 9A
Height    25' to 40' / 7.60m to 12.20m
Spread    12' to 20' / 3.60m to 6.00m
Growth rate    Fast
Form    Pyramidal and vase shaped
Exposure    Partial shade or partial sun to full sun
Persistence    Evergreen

Bloom Color    Green and yellow
Bloom Time    Spring

This plant tolerates drought and salt well.
This plant will grow in very dry soil.
Suitable soil is well-drained/loamy, sandy or clay.
The pH preference is an acidic to alkaline (less than 6.8 to more than 7.7) soil.

Leaf Color    Blue and green
Fall Color    No change in fall color
This plant has fragrant foliage.

Landscape Uses
-    Screen
-    Specimen

Attributes and Features
-    Attracts birds
-    Inconspicuous blooms
-    Persistent fruit
-    Attractive fruit
-    Fruit is edible by birds

This plant is best when trained to a dominant trunk.
This plant typically grows with one trunk.

Culture Notes
Planted in full sun or partial shade, Eastern Red Cedar will easily grow on a variety of soils, including clay, but will not do well on soils kept continually moist.  Growth may be poor in landscapes which are over-irrigated.  Plants are difficult to transplant due to a coarse root system, except when quite small.  Water until well-established and then forget about the tree.  It performs admirably with no care, even on alkaline soil and along the coast.  Usually insects and diseases are not a problem if grown in the full sun.

There may be local restrictions on planting this tree near apple orchards because it is the alternate host for cedar-apple rust. There is a broad group of plant forms within this cultivar name. Prune to one leader to help prevent the tree from splitting in ice storms.

Natural habitat is dry and windy with full sun exposure.  It looks best in an open site with no shade during the day.  This allows the foliage to dry quickly in the morning and helps prevent foliage disease from thinning the canopy.  A well-drained soil is essential for good growth.  Wet soil rots the roots and causes plant decline.

Plants serve as hosts for swedner's hairstreak (Mitoura gryneus swedneri) butterfly larvae.

Planting and establishing shrubs
The most common cause of young plant failure is planting too deep.  Plant the root ball no deeper than it was in the nursery.  In most instances, the root flare zone (point where the top-most root in the root ball originates from the trunk) should be located just above the landscape soil surface. Sometimes plants come from the nursery with soil over the root flare. If there is soil over this area, scrape it off.  The planting hole should be at least twice the width of the root ball, preferably wider.  In all but exceptional circumstances where the soil is very poor, there is no need to incorporate anything into the backfill soil except the loosened soil that came out of the planting hole.  Never place ANY soil over the root ball. If a row or grouping of plants is to be installed, excavating or loosening the soil in the entire bed and incorporating organic matter enhances root growth and establishment rate.

Weed suppression during establishment is essential.  Apply a 3-inch thick layer of mulch around the plant to help control weed growth.  Keep it at least 10 inches from the trunk.  If you apply it over the root ball, apply only a one or two inch layer.   This allows rainwater and air to easily enter the root ball and keeps the trunk dry.  Placing mulch against the trunk or applying too thick a layer above the root ball can kill the plant by oxygen starvation, death of bark, stem and root diseases, prevention of hardening off for winter, vole and other rodent damage to the trunk, keeping soil too wet, or repelling water.  Regular irrigation through the first growing season after planting encourages rapid root growth, which is essential for quick plant establishment.