Thuja Or Juniper - What To Choose? Comparison Of Appearance, Care And Conditions. What To Plant? Varieties And Photos

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Thuja Or Juniper - What To Choose? Comparison Of Appearance, Care And Conditions. What To Plant? Varieties And Photos
Thuja Or Juniper - What To Choose? Comparison Of Appearance, Care And Conditions. What To Plant? Varieties And Photos

Video: Thuja Or Juniper - What To Choose? Comparison Of Appearance, Care And Conditions. What To Plant? Varieties And Photos

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Video: 3 types of Juniper (English). One is Thuja or Morpankhi 2023, January
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Thuja or juniper - which is better? This question can sometimes be heard in garden centers and in the market where these plants are sold. It is, of course, not entirely correct and correct. Well, it doesn't matter what to ask, which is better - night or day? Coffee or tea? Woman or man? Surely, everyone will have their own answer and their own opinion. It seems to me that each plant is good in its own way. And everyone needs to find the right place on their site so that it shows all its best qualities. And yet … But what if you approach without prejudice and try to compare juniper and thuja according to certain objective parameters? Let's try.

Thuja or juniper - what to choose?
Thuja or juniper - what to choose?

Content:

  • Comparison of the shape of thuja and juniper
  • Comparison of the color of thuja and juniper needles
  • The use of thuja and juniper in garden design
  • Conditions for growing thuja and juniper
  • Reproduction of thuja and juniper
  • Useful properties of thuja and juniper
  • Subjectivity versus objectivity

Why exactly thuja and juniper? These are perhaps the most popular and purchased conifers on the green market, and their functions are often the same. And if we consider that they belong to the Cypress family and have much in common, then inexperienced gardeners often even confuse and do not distinguish between them.

Comparison of the shape of thuja and juniper

Let's start with the appearance. To date, breeders have bred many varieties of both thuja and juniper, and this range is increasing every year. Both the shape of the crown and the color of the needles vary. At the same time, similar forms can be found in both plants.

For example, if you need a clear columnar silhouette on the site, then you can use the Blue Arrow juniper, or you can use the Columna variety. Or, for example, the Stricta juniper with a candle silhouette can be easily replaced with the most popular Thuja Smaragd today.

If you need a coniferous ball, you can choose between Thuja Globosa, Danica or miniature Teddy and junipers … Stop! You probably won't find spherical forms in junipers, although breeders are probably working on this.

But junipers have a large assortment of creeping forms, for example, "BIue Carpet" and "Blue Chip". There are also spreading crowns of the “fountain” type, for example, “Blue Alps”, which the thuja cannot yet boast of. Yes, in principle, with a skillful haircut, you can make a ball out of juniper or make something creeping out of thuja. But the natural, inherent in the variety, the form will still require minimal effort from you to preserve it.

Comparison of the color of thuja and juniper needles

Now about the color. In addition to the main, natural green color, many varieties of these plants have been bred with a peculiar color of needles. There are blue, yellow, green and even speckled.

At the same time, the following picture is observed here: thuja tend to change the color of the needles depending on the season. As a rule, they acquire a bronze tint by winter, and not all gardeners like it. And in junipers, the color is more stable.

Among these conifers there are plants with green-yellow needles, say, “Mirjam” thuja or “Gold Coast” juniper. Yes - with green: Thuja "Smaragd" has a rich green color all year round (perhaps the only thuja), like the juniper "Emerald Sea". By the way, now it is not easy to find pure green juniper in garden centers.

And, perhaps, what you will definitely not find is thuja with blue needles, and there are many junipers, for example, the Blue Star juniper is silvery blue. Just as you will not find thuja with multi-colored needles, but there are junipers, for example, "Blue and Gold" with an interesting crown, which consists of shoots of different colors - blue and yellow. The examples given are just a drop in the sea of ​​the modern assortment of these plants.

Thuja occidentalis Mirjam
Thuja occidentalis Mirjam
Juniper Gold Coast
Juniper Gold Coast

The use of thuja and juniper in garden design

But how can you skillfully apply all this variety of shapes and colors on your site? Both thuja and juniper are very decorative and versatile, they can be used both singly and in groups. But it is customary to plant junipers in "loose" groups, that is, several plants next to the gap between them. You can also create a dense hedge out of them, but they grow slowly, and seedlings are expensive.

Thuja is ideal for this task. With a relatively low price of seedlings and good care, your living wall will rise quickly enough. For these purposes it is good to use thuja "Columna" or "Brabant", which perfectly tolerate the haircut.

But the variety of creeping, undersized and dwarf forms of juniper makes it easy to solve the problem of strengthening and landscaping slopes, decorating rocky hills and rock gardens. Slow growth is an advantage here.

When choosing between thuja and juniper, it is worth considering the peculiarities of the root system of these plants. In a juniper, it forms deep, and this makes the plant irreplaceable in windy areas. In thuja, the root system is shallow and not wide, as they say, "disc-shaped", and often in strong winds, the thuja easily turns out of the ground.

Conditions for growing thuja and juniper

Why can thuja be found on the streets of large cities more often than juniper? The fact is that thuja is not demanding on air purity and tolerates dust and exhaust gases quite normally. Junipers suffer from these factors. And therefore they are used in landscaping to a limited extent.

But what are the cities to us? We are on our own plot, here the air is cleaner and, therefore, excellent for growing both crops. I have already mentioned the peculiarities of the root system of the thuja, it is shallow and not wide, respectively, in dry periods it will require regular watering. But in areas with high groundwater, thuja has a good chance of survival.

In addition to watering, thuja will also need fertile soil, and if it is poor on your site, then you cannot do without top dressing.

I will make a small digression about feeding conifers. Despite the fact that there are special fertilizers on sale for conifers both for the root and for the crown, you should not get too carried away with this business. The best option, in my opinion, is to add good compost to the trunk circle once a year.

Well, what about junipers? They form a powerful root system extending inward and outward from the plant. Juniper is a self-sufficient plant, which means that it does not need your watering and feeding (in an adult state). After all, they grow in the wild and on rocky mountain slopes, and even on saline soils.

Both thuja and juniper, with the right choice of species and varieties, tolerate low winter temperatures well. But what they love in the same way is sunlight. It is in an open, well-lit place that these plants can show all their best qualities: a dense crown of a saturated color characteristic of a given variety. Yes, and in the shade, they will survive, but, most likely, the crown will become loose and the color may become ordinary green or fade.

Although the plants can handle our winters well, some specimens may need some shelter. No, not from frost, but from the bright sun in late winter and early spring. The fact is that during this period the sun is already shining well, and the earth (and, accordingly, the root system) is still in a frozen state and is not able to replenish the moisture loss from solar activity. As a result, the needles can burn, become red and dry from the southern side. Therefore, cover, or rather, shade your conifers.

Both thuja and juniper, with the right choice of species and varieties, tolerate low winter temperatures well
Both thuja and juniper, with the right choice of species and varieties, tolerate low winter temperatures well

Reproduction of thuja and juniper

Here, probably, it is worth giving the palm to the thuja. Both plants reproduce well by seeds (without preservation of varietal characteristics) and cuttings (with conservation of varietal properties). But thuja makes it easier and easier. Thuja seeds do not even need stratification, and cuttings take root twice as fast as juniper and with a high percentage of yield.

Useful properties of thuja and juniper

Surely, many people know about the benefits of conifers. They emit special substances - phytoncides, which literally disinfect the air around. Both thuja and juniper are well suited for this, but still, juniper has no equal in this!

It is a well-known fact: the North American Indians placed sick tribesmen in the thickets of this plant and they recovered. Juniper also has one more bonus - cones of some species are widely used for medicinal purposes as a diuretic and disinfectant.

Juniper cones are used in cooking, as a spice in the manufacture of kvass, beer, pickles, marinades. Meat is smoked with them (about 6-8 juniper berries per 1 kg of meat), gin and tinctures are made.

And there are also juniper brooms for the bath …

If you approach this question philosophically, then whichever of these plants you choose, you will not be mistaken, they will outlive you. But if you plant with an eye on future generations, for your descendants, then you should know the maximum that I have met in the literature. For a thuja it is 200 years (usually up to 100). But junipers in places of their natural growth quite live up to 1000 (!) And even 2000 (!!!) years. Here, as they say, no comment.

Juniper also has one more bonus - some types of cones are widely used for medicinal purposes
Juniper also has one more bonus - some types of cones are widely used for medicinal purposes

Subjectivity versus objectivity

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that I was only trying to compare the thuja and the juniper according to completely objective criteria and "technical parameters." However, there is also such a criterion as subjective perception. In other words, we often make a choice in favor of this or that plant simply because we like it.

Here I like juniper more, it is some kind of solid. Yes, the first years need to be patient, but then he will please. But I do not at all share the tendency recently adopted by landscape designers to ridicule and irony about garden solutions using thuja, they say, yesterday.

Thuja is just a plant, and like any plant, you need to use it correctly. If you need to quickly close a neighbor's toilet or shed, then thuja as a plant for such a technical hedge is great. And this will be, perhaps, the best dense and rich background for interesting foreground plants. Or, say, large balls …

In general, look for your solution and application for these conifers. And look for your own tendencies without paying attention to others. In each case, everything should determine your taste and your preferences.

Have a good choice!

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