In Iowa the common juniper (Juniperus communis) is often only a large, bushy shrub, seldom reaching tree size. It has a short, irregular trunk.
Habitat: Grows on dry wooded bluffs and rocky slopes. Found in extreme northeast Iowa.
Hardiness: Zones 2 through 9
Mature Shape: Upright, densely pyramidal becoming irregular and pendulous with age
Height: 30-40 feet
Width: 10-20 feet
Site Requirements: Prefers full sun and well drained soils. Is tolerant of a variety of conditions including poor soils, heat and drought.
Flowering Dates: April - May
Seed Dispersal Dates: Seeds persist for 2 years
Seed Bearing Age: 10 years
Seed Bearing Frequency: Irregular
Seed Stratification: Prechill for 3 months at 34°F to 40°F
The awl-shaped, leaves are spreading, spiny and scale-like and 1/3 to 1/2 inch long. They are more flattened and white on the upper surface than the red cedar and turn a rich bronze color during the winter. The bluish or purple fruit is an irregular, ball-shaped berry, with one to three small hard seeds. The bark is reddish brown and becomes papery scaled.