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Hollywood Juniper Care – Star Treatment

Hollywood Juniper Care – Star Treatment

Found throughout California, this popular shrub was nicknamed the Hollywood Juniper. Botanically known as the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’, this tree is one of the most unique evergreen cultivars.

It has a rustic appearance with artistically twisted branches. 

The twisting and spiraling growth habit of the Hollywood Juniper make the tree appear to have been trained by a master of bonsai.

These unique features, however, are completely natural and do not require any special training. 

Not only is the form the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ takes on dramatic, so is the color of its foliage and bark.

This tree flaunts year-round mystical blueish-green-colored needles. These coral-colored needles grow densely on branches with rusty-brown colored bark. 

The Hollywood Juniper’s bark naturally peels off in strips leaving the tree with stripes. This occurrence adds to the rugged look and feel of this spectacular tree.

Another splash of color is seen with the shrub’s violet-blue berries. These berries are likely to be seen throughout the year. 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ were brought to California from Japan in the 1920s. These trees quickly became popular and aside from being commonly known as the Hollywood Juniper, they also gained another name.

You may often find these interesting-looking trees labeled as ‘Torulosa’. This name, however, is incorrect. ‘Kaizuka’ is the correct Japanese name for the Hollywood Juniper. 

These shrubs do not hold their popularity for their looks alone, their size is also admired. Not too big and not too small, the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ can be either called a large shrub or a small tree.

Hollywood Junipers will only reach heights of between  12ft and 15ft (3.7m and 4.6m). 

However, if a central stem is trained into upright growth, the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ can reach a height of up to  30ft ( 9.1m).

This training does not affect the total width this tree will reach though. You can expect the Hollywood Juniper to reach a spread of between 2.4m and 3m (8ft and 10ft). 

You can expect moderate growth from the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’. Once established, these trees can grow anywhere from 0.3m to 0.6m (1ft to 2ft) per year. 

 

 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ Care

The Hollywood Juniper is a fairly easy-going tree. These trees do best in well-draining soil, full, direct sun for a couple of hours per day, and an annual dose of fertilizer in the early spring. Watering is necessary until your tree has been established. It may also be necessary on excessively hot days. These trees do not have a preferred temperature range and are hardy on both ends of the scale. Pruning should be avoided as the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ looks best if left to develop naturally. If necessary, light pruning will be tolerated by the tree for topiary, shaping, or maintenance needs. 

 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ Care Guide

 

Soil 

As with many other trees of the Juniperus genus, the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ needs soil that is well-draining.

The roots of this tree do not fare well when left in soggy or wet soil. Your Hollywood Juniper is at a higher risk of contracting root rot if they are left with wet roots for a prolonged time. 

Other than needing fast-draining soil, these evergreen beauties are otherwise not fussy. The Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is very adaptable and will adjust to whatever soil it is faced with. These trees will even grow happily in soils that are of poorer quality. 

Compatible soil types for the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ can be anything from alkaline to acid and clay to sandy.

This shrub will grow in rocky soil, shallow soil, and even in urban areas. It will also adjust to whatever the pH level of the soil is. 

Provided the conditions are not overly wet, the Hollywood Juniper will adapt and grow just fine.  

 

Watering

Until your Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ has been established, you will be required to water it every other day.

Young or newly transplanted trees will not have a large root system. They will need to be watered regularly to aid and encourage the growth of an extensive system of roots. 

It is recommended that you keep your tree’s soil evenly moist throughout this period of establishment. As a rule, only the very topsoil around your Hollywood Juniper should be allowed to dry slightly in between watering. 

The frequency of watering will differ depending on the environment in which you are growing your new tree. Generally watering should be done once a week.

Watering will not be necessary if it has rained, however, you will need to water your young Juniper more in extreme heat. 

It is best to check your Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ tree’s soil for moisture regularly.

Doing so will help you get a better idea of how often your tree needs to be watered.

It will take about two years before you can consider your Hollywood Juniper to be an established tree. 

Once established, you will no longer be required to manually water your Hollywood Juniper.

There are only two occasions your established Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ will need to be watered.

Watering your tree may be needed if it experiences an excessively long dry period or if the weather is exceptionally hot. 

These trees are extremely drought-resistant. They will do well with just receiving water from rain showers. A well-developed root system is what increases this tree’s drought tolerance. 

 

Temperature

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is not best suited to any specific range of temperatures. It is widely misunderstood that these trees are not tolerant to colder temperatures.

However, the Hollywood Juniper is very cold hardy. 

These twisted shrubs are capable of growing comfortably in zones from as low as 4 to as high as 10. There is no environment this tree can not handle.

From hot and dry to colder areas, the Hollywood Juniper is suitable and will grow well. 

Although adaptable, the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is known to thrive in locations that are dry, hot, and sunny.

Coupled with their extreme drought-resistance, these trees have an excellent tolerance to heat too. 

But, there is no doubt that the Hollywood Juniper is tough and durable enough to withstand the coldest of winters and the hottest of summers. 

 

Location

Along with this tree’s variety of uses comes a variety of suitable locations for it to be planted.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that Hollywood Junipers prefer to be in full sun. But being the adaptable and forgiving tree they are, they will tolerate partial shade too. 

Ideally, your Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ should receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight per day. The more access to the sun this tree gets, the better it will look.

The Hollywood Juniper thrives off of sunlight and allowing it as much sun time as possible will promote faster growth. 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ are the ideal trees for a number of situations. Their best use is as a feature tree though, with its unique and other-worldly appearance.

They make for great entrance markers, but can also be grown in between windows or at the corners of a house.

Hollywood Junipers are not just loved for their looks though. These shrubs are a viable option to use for hedging, topiary, as a privacy screen or windbreak. They can even be used for erosion control or as a bonsai.

If you are concerned that the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ will not fit the style of your garden, do not worry.

These trees have the ability to fit in with just about any style! From Contemporary to Mediterranean or Asian and Zen to Rustic and Urban. The Hollywood Juniper just works!

Although it can be used to form a hedge, the final shape will not be uniform throughout.

This is due to the fact that no one Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ grows alike. If you are wanting an informal hedge, then this shrub will be the striking way to go. 

The list of pros that this tree has just goes on and on. Another benefit to the Hollywood Juniper is that it is tolerant of salt.

This means that it can be planted near coastal areas without any issues. 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ trees can also be safely planted under powerlines. Being on the smaller side, this tree will not be a risk to these lines. 

 

Pruning

Pruning of the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is not recommended. It should be avoided wherever possible as this tree looks its best when left to its own devices.

You are more likely to get a more appealing look out of a Hollywood Juniper that has been allowed to grow naturally. A naturally shaped Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is always the best looking. 

In the case of the tree being used for topiary or otherwise shaped, pruning may be done when needed. For best results, trimming and pruning should be kept to a minimum.

Light pruning is also tolerated if you wish to keep your shrub a certain size. The only other time it may be required of you to prune this tree is if it has damaged branches. 

Pruning should ideally only be done early in the spring. It is also recommended that you only prune younger Hollywood Junipers. Older trees tend to get more difficult to trim or cut as they age. 

 

Fertilizer

Feeding the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ only needs to be done on an annual basis. A general-purpose fertilizer is best and should be used just before the plant enters its period of growth.

New growth can be expected to start in spring so you should aim to feed your Hollywood Juniper early in the spring months. 

 

Planting the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’

When it comes to planting the Hollywood Juniper, you should ensure the chosen location has enough space. Remember, this plant does not transplant well.

Make sure that the spot you have picked for your tree is where you want it to stay. 

The hole for your new Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ needs to be three times the size of the tree’s root ball.

Depth wise, however, you should only plant your tree as deep as its current soil line. After placing the tree in the hole, backfill it and stamp it to eliminate any air pockets in the soil. 

Next, you should give your newly planted tree a deep and thorough watering. To assist with moisture retention in the soil, you may even mulch the area around your young tree. 

 

Pests and diseases 

Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ trees may experience some problems with pests or diseases. Occasionally you may experience minor issues with bagworms, aphids, webworms, scale, or needle blights. With proper management and maintenance, you can avoid severe infestations. 

The best way to combat any of the fore-mentioned issues is to prune affected or diseased branches as soon as they occur. This will aid in avoiding the further spread of insects or diseases. 

Although the Hollywood Juniper is not necessarily appetizing for deer, these animals are known to shine or polish their antlers on them.

This may cause damage to your tree. Prevention of this is to fence off the area around your Hollywood Juniper so that the deer cannot gain access to it. 

 

Frequently asked questions about the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’

 

Can you propagate the Hollywood Juniper?

Although propagation is possible, the process is lengthy. Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ trees can be propagated through cuttings that have been taken in the late summer. It is also possible to grow the Hollywood Juniper from seeds collected from their berries. 

 

What plants go best with the Hollywood Juniper?

The Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ can be accompanied by multiple different plants. Depending on the garden style you are going for you can couple this tree with lavender, rosemary, Japanese maples, or even flowering quince. 


 

Conclusion

The Hollywood Juniper is by far the most interesting of its genus. With no tree growing to look like another, they are truly unique.

With eye-catching growth habits and coral-colored foliage, the Juniperus chinensis ‘Kaizuka’ is ideal for use as a focal point or just to spruce up an area!

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