Creeping Juniper: Thorny Plants for Security
Creeping Juniper: Thorny Plants for Security

Juniper is a genus of plant that comprises more than 170 species of varying shapes and sizes. Creeping Juniper is one species that grows outward and only minimally upwards. As with all species of juniper, young Creeping Juniper sprouts needle-like leaves. As this genus ages, the leaves assume a more scale-like shape which presses against the twigs. As a security measure, young Creeping Juniper constitutes a viable alternative in a landscaped buffer.

Security Benefits of Juniper Plants

As young Creeping Juniper sprouts sharp needles and may be planted in dense masses, intruders may find passing through a mass of this plant uncomfortable. Thus, it acts as a deterrent. However, as the plant ages the needles fall off, replaced by scaly leaves which are not as effective in causing discomfort to intruders. Replacing older plants may be necessary.

Aesthetics of Creeping Juniper

Creeping Juniper grows to a maximum width of about eight feet (about 2½ meters), but only about two feet (about one half-meter) in height. It may be green, blue, silver, yellow, or gold. If planted densely, it presents an attractive mass of color. It may grow pale blue flowers, but they are not generally considered appealing. The flowers sprout from cones shaped like dark blue berries.

Maintenance of Creeping Juniper

Creeping Juniper prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It tolerates drought well and like other junipers, can adapt to different patterns of weather and soil types. On the other hand, junipers do not adapt well to overpruning. Experts recommend increasing the mass by layering plant, grafting from others, cuttings, and planting from seed. One of the problems with junipers in general is their susceptibility to insect pests.

Some of the insects that attack junipers include:

  • Bagworms
  • Twig borers
  • Scale
  • Juniper webworm
  • Spider mites
  • Leaf miners
  • Aphids

Experts recommend controlling these pests with pesticides. Creeping Juniper resists fungi, such as cedar apple rust and dieback, that attack other species of juniper; however tip blight and root rot may constitute problems.

Miscellaneous Juniper Information

Juniper berrycones are commonly used to flavor gin and Native Americans have brewed them into a tea to treat the common cold and digestive ailments. They also have been thought to be useful in the treatment of Bubonic Plague and leprosy, although this belief is no longer extant. Young Creeping Juniper may provide a useful addition to a landscaped security barrier as a mass of its needles may prove uncomfortable to would-be intruders.

It also may comprise an attractive addition to your yard. You should consider replacing the plant or adding to it as it ages. You should also be aware that it may be susceptible to many insect pests.