The rolling hillsides and cold winters in Vermont make it an excellent place to grow evergreens like junipers. Some varieties of juniper will survive the severe winters even in the coldest pockets of USDA hardiness zone 3 in northern Vermont. Their attractive dark blue berries stay on the plants into winter, attracting birds and providing visual interest in the landscape.
For an evergreen groundcover in full sun to partial shade, plant low growing Juniperus horizontalis. It even works well to control erosion on the slopes and rugged hillsides in Vermont. Space the plants about 3 feet apart in all directions and mulch to control weeds between the plants until they grow enough to fill in the area. It will soon grow to form an evergreen mat about 18 inches high.
A rugged, forgiving evergreen, common juniper (Juniperus communis) will grow in the poorest soils and even thrive in Vermont's alkaline soils, although most evergreens prefer acid soil. Common juniper grows about 3 feet high and grows best in well drained soil that is on the dry side. Prune them yearly in early spring as needed to maintain their shape.
Disease resistant and upright growing, Keteleeri Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis 'Keteleeri') grows to a height of about 30 inches. It has a dense growth habit and produces a large number of berries, which attract birds. Chinese juniper is hardy through USDA zone 3 and will grow well in the colder northern areas of Vermont.
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