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Moonglow Juniper sounds so mysterious right? But, honestly, this outdoor tree earns its name as it is a majestic tree you can grow in your garden.
A fact is that with its upright-pyramidal shape, it shows its silvery-blue foliage that looks like the moon is shining on it at night.
So, if you want to add some charisma to your garden, this cultivar is ideal and works in most gardens.
Plant Name: Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’
Other Name: Moonglow Juniper or Rocky Mountain Juniper Tree
Plant Type: Coniferous
Native Areas: Cultivar
Light Requirement: Full Sun
Fertilizer: Organic Mulch
Toxicity: Toxic to humans and pets
Temperature: Hardy down to -30°F
Growth: 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide
Soil Type: Acidic soil types
USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
More About Moonglow Juniper Trees
Junipers are native species of the northern regions of America. The tree is a cultivar of the Rocky Mountain Juniper known by its botanical name Juniperus scopulorum. The tree fashions a compact branching habit with needle-shaped foliage in a blueish-silvery-green color.
The silvery hue that reflects on the dense foliage gives it the mystical name of Moonglow Juniper, creating a magical appearance. It is a hardy tree that can withstand urban pollution and is deer resistant.
You can grow the Moonglow Juniper tree in shrub form with its slender width and grows at a moderate rate. Therefore, you can expect this tree growing in northern areas to reach 20 feet tall. But with pruning, you can control the height and shape.
Though left to their own devices, they can reach up to 40 feet tall. Still, even growing tall, it remains with a narrow width of 3 feet to 10 feet but can reach 15 feet wide. For this reason, when grown in its specimen form, it fits nicely into smaller spaces in the landscape.
You can grow smaller shrubs around it as it has a non-aggressive root system. So add this slow-growing evergreen to the landscape today for a magnificent display.
Where is the Best Spot to Plant Moonglow Juniper
The best spot for your Moonglow Junipers is in full sun, but it also depends if you want to do row planting or use it as a privacy screen.
Alternatively, you can grow your tree in a spot that receives minimal rainfall as the drought conditions of this tree are hardy.
For screen or row planting, space your trees at least three feet apart, and growing as an individual tree, provide it with five feet of spacing away from other trees.
Here are some simple steps to get you started:
Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball at the same depth as the container you received it in.
For growing in a poor soil type, make the hole wider to fill it with half of the ground and amend it with some organic matter.
Remove the tree from the container to separate the roots and position it in the middle of the hole. Keep the best side of the shrub facing forward.
Please fill the hole with the original ground or amend it as above. If you have large shrubs build a water well and complete it with some organic mulch and water well.
If you bought a bare-root shrub, look for any discoloration near the base, as this is where the soil line was. Hence, it helps to place the bare-root ball at the same line on the bare-root when planted.
Moonglow Juniper Care Guide
The fantastic thing about growing the Moonglow Juniper is that it grows well in the landscape and as an ornamental container plant. Another extraordinary thing is the Juniperus scopulorum Moonglow thrives well as a bonsai tree.
So even caring for the tree is not too difficult; you can find detailed information here.
The Best Potting Mix For Juniperus Scopulorum Moonglow
Whether you grow your tree in a container or the landscape, the most important thing has well-drained soil.
The shrubs are not picky about the soil type they grow but prefer acidic to alkaline soils. The specific plant can even tolerate clay-based to loamy or compacted ground. The important thing is drainage.
The Moonglow Juniper tree is a drought-tolerant species. Nonetheless, it does not enjoy wet feet and does not take it well when the roots are soggy the whole time.
Ideal Lighting Condition Juniperus Scopulorum Moonglow
When we think of it, there are few places the Moonglow Juniper tree will not grow happily.
But the best spot is in full sun. So if you grow your plant indoors, provide it with bright direct sunlight for at least six hours.
It is a sun-loving plant, but even if they find themselves in a spot with partial shade, they will not make a fuss. Still, full shade can be detrimental to your Moonglow Junipers’ health.
While you need not do anything further where lighting concerns this, tree-the Moonglow Juniper can do numerous things for you.
So, you can grow them as a noise buffer or for privacy screening as a windbreaker and help control erosion. Or grow your tree as a topiary at the entrance of your home. Best of all, you can grow them under powerlines in full sun.
When to Water Moonglow Juniper
Okay, while the Moonglow Juniper is tolerant to drought, it does not mean it does not need watering.
The Moonglow Juniper tree will not need to be watered regularly when rainfall is present. Instead, the water will be enough to keep the root system hydrated.
Yet, for young trees not established, you must provide supplemental watering about once a week. Also, it is only needed if you have no rain showers.
And additional watering will need to be done for the first two years of young trees.
Recommended Temperature Range For Moonglow Juniper Tree
The Moonglow Juniper tree is hardy in the growing zone 3 to 9 to withstand temperatures down to -30°F (-34.4°C). So regardless of the region you live this tree will mostly survive.
But it also depends if you have a lot of rain or snow. So while it is cold hardy in cold regions, it will need a bit more attention.
With the combination of cold temperatures and water, it can get an ice covering and only tolerate those conditions for up to two days. We recommend covering your trees in colder regions.
Fertilizing Moonglow Juniper
For maximum hardiness and health, fertilizing your Moonglow Juniper is essential. Yet, we do not recommend using chemical fertilizers during the summer months. It will cause damage to your tree’s roots.
Preferably use a plant flood balanced with extended-release properties like a slow-release fertilizer. So, choose a feed to provide your Scopulorum Moonglow with added acid. If you want to use a chemical fertilizer, we recommend using it in early spring.
Alternatively, use an organic feed like compost or manure as it benefits the tree and improves the ground. A slow-releasing fertilizer can be applied once a year during the growing season.
Refrain from feeding your Moonglow Junipers in the fall to winter as they enter the dormancy period. Fertilizing at this time will lead to new growth that is too weak to handle the cold.
Propagation of Juniperus Scopulorum Moonglow
If you do not want to keep purchasing plants, propagation is a great way to ensure you always have these trees. As per Clemson University, propagation is best done through cuttings from mid-fall to mid-winter.
So, what will you need to propagate Moonglow Juniper:
A 6-inch pot with drainage holes and a slow-releasing fertilizer
Finely chopped bark with peat moss and rooting hormone
A plastic bag with a rubber band and pruners
Some garden soil and sand to make a well-draining soil
Steps to propagate your Moonglow Junipers
First, prepare your pot with fertilizer at the bottom and fill it to the rim with a potting mix of equal parts chopped bark and peat moss.
Next, cut a six-inch stem from your shrub using a clean pair of pruners. Preferably cut a firm to green stem and pinch the side shoots at the bottom 1/3 of the cutting.
Now, dip the cut end into the rooting hormone and plant in the pot 1/3 to one-half of the total cutting length in the soil. Water lightly, allowing the soil to settle around the root zone.
Cover the container with the plastic bag and secure it with the rubber band. Then slit small holes to provide air circulation.
Place the container in bright indirect light and check it weekly to water if it feels dry.
The roots develop in late winter, and new growth begins until early summer.
You can transplant the cuttings you placed a few inches apart into individual containers with well-draining soil and drainage holes. Use two parts of garden soil, with one part coarse sand and one part peat moss. Please place them in partial shade for up to five days before moving them to direct sunlight.
After a year of growing in the containers, you can plant them in a sunny spot, and if it does outgrow the container before a year, transplant them to a larger container.
Pruning Your Moonglow Junipers
The Juniperus scopulorum Moonglow is low maintenance when it comes to pruning. Another benefit of these shrubs is that they do not self-shed the needles. Therefore, the best time to prune is early spring allowing for new growth that hardens off.
Another reason you will need to do pruning is to remove dead or diseased branches. So, keep an eye on caterpillars as those branches need removing to prevent further infestation. Furthermore, the pruning will also depend on how you grow your plant and might require other methods.
When grown as a hedge, you will do pruning differently to a topiary or single-standing tree.
Moonglow Juniper Similar Trees
The Juniperus scopulorum Moonglow is not the only fabulous Juniper to grow in your landscape, as a few others are seen here.
Rocky Mountain Juniper
The Rocky Mountain Juniper or Red Cedar grows with a formal shape reaching heights of 40 feet tall. The foliage can range from dark green to blue-green depending on the variety. The needles on young plants are soft and become scale-like as the trees mature.
It also has berry cones turning dark blue used in food, medicine, and beverages.
Juniperus scopulorum Snow Flurries
It is a lovely Juniper and also a variegated cultivar. You can grow this tree in a pot with crushed lava, pumice, and vermiculite. Occasionally you can add pine bark grown as a bonsai tree.
Juniperus scopulorum Blue Arrow
For a tall, slender Juniper addition to the landscape, you will love the Blue Arrow juniper tree. You can grow them as a hedge or windbreaker.
Moonglow Juniper Common Pests and Diseases
The Moonglow Juniper is relatively pest- and disease-free, but that does not mean it can get its fair share of problems. The Moonglow Juniper trees attract two pests the Bagworm Caterpillars and Juniper Webworms.
These insects damage the branches and the foliage. Therefore, it helps to check your tree periodically to remove the diseased and dead branches to prevent the spreading of the infestation.
Furthermore, the Moonglow Junipers are susceptible to Twig Blight, Cedar Apple, Hawthorn, and Quince Rust, all forms of tree rust.
Other diseases to look out for are canker and Phomopsis blight.
Frequently Asked Questions
After ten years of growth, your mature specimen can reach 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide with an annual growth rate of two feet.
Moonglow Junipers grow at a slow rate, and under the right growing conditions, they can reach the age of 70 years and longer.
To make your Moonglow Juniper grow faster, provide full sun and frequent watering depending on the rain.
To ensure the Juniper grows bushy, it must be pruned differently than a typical specimen. As new foliage grows on the branches’ tips, it helps to trim the green ends. Thus it helps to clip the individual tips using a pair of secateurs and not shearing them.
You can buy the Moonglow Juniper from a local nursery but need not leave your home. Instead, browse through Plantly to find either the cuttings or plants of the Moonglow Juniper to deliver to your home.