Juniper vs Arborvitae: [Key Differences]

Juniper and arborvitae are both evergreen trees that are popular for use in landscaping. Both have similar shapes and sizes, but there are some key differences between them.

The main difference between junipers and arborvitaes is cold tolerance. Junipers tend to be more hardy and tolerant of colder climates, while arborvitaes are better choices for areas with hot summers. 

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Key Differences

Junipers are generally more tolerant of poor soil than arborvitae, and they also require less water.

However, arborvitae tend to be more resistant to disease and pests.

Junipers can also be pruned into a variety of shapes, while arborvitae usually have a more natural look.


Although they are both evergreen trees, junipers and arborvitae have some key differences. Junipers are cone-bearing trees, while arborvitae produce small, cylindrical cones.

Junipers also have a greater variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from low-growing shrubs to tall, narrow trees.

Arborvitae, on the other hand, are generally uniform in height and shape. In terms of leaves, junipers have sharp needles that are arranged in pairs or whorls of three.

Arborvitae leaves are softer and flattened, and they are arranged in opposite pairs along the branchlets.

Finally, junipers typically have blue or purple berries, while arborvitae berries are usually red or brown.

Despite these differences, junipers and arborvitae share many similarities, including their evergreen foliage and coniferous nature.

Juniper Care

Juniper vs Arborvitae

While they are relatively easy to care for, junipers do require some basic maintenance in order to stay healthy and look their best.

For example, junipers should be regularly watered, especially during hot, dry weather. They also need to be fertilized two or three times a year in order to encourage growth.

In addition, it is important to prune junipers on a regular basis in order to control their shape and size. With proper care, junipers can provide years of enjoyment.

Juniper Spacing

When it comes to hedges, one of the most important considerations is spacing. This is because the distance between plants will determine how dense the hedge will be.

For a juniper hedge, a spacing of 18 to 24 inches is typically recommended. This will ensure that the plants have enough room to grow and fill in the space, creating a dense and sturdy hedge.

It’s also important to consider the mature size of the plants when determining spacing. If you want a low-maintenance hedge that doesn’t need frequent trimming, choose a variety that stays compact.

Some varieties of juniper can grow quite large, so be sure to select one that is appropriate for your space.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your juniper hedge will be both beautiful and functional.

Arborvitae Care

Juniper vs Arborvitae

Arborvitae are a type of evergreen tree that are commonly used as privacy screens or hedges. While they are relatively low-maintenance, they do require some care to keep them looking their best.

Here are a few tips for caring for arborvitae:

  •  Prune arborvitae in early spring before new growth begins. remove any dead or diseased branches, and trim back any overgrown branches.
  • Fertilize arborvitae once a year in early spring with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Water arborvitae regularly during the growing season, making sure to soak the roots deeply. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering to prevent root rot.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your arborvitae looking healthy and green for years to come.

Arborvitae Spacing

When planting an Arborvitae hedge, it is important to space the plants properly in order to ensure that the hedge will be dense and full.

For best results, space the plants 18-24 inches apart. This will allow the roots to spread and establish themselves without crowding, and will also ensure that there is enough room for air circulation around the leaves.

In addition, it is important to water the hedge regularly during the first growing season in order to promote healthy root growth.


So if you’re looking for a shrub that can take the cold, go with a juniper. If heat is more your concern, arborvitae is the way to go.

No matter which one you choose, both make great additions to any landscape.

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