Description & Overview

Are you looking for a tall and skinny evergreen but struggle with deer in your area? Are you tired of supplying them with a buffet of Arborvitae? Then look no further; Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ the Taylor Juniper might be the perfect match. This plant will reach heights of 25′ tall but with a narrow width of only 2-3′; it’s perfect for those needing a columnar conifer.

Core Characteristics

Category: Conifer

Wisconsin Native: No - Variety of North American Native

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 2

Mature Height: 25 feet

Mature Spread: 2-3 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Columnar. Upright.

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Adaptable to different soil types and textures. Does well in average, well - draining soils.

Flower: Insignificant

Bloom Period: N/A

Foliage: Silvery - green

Fall Color: None

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Dioecious. Females produce round blue berry - like cones. ¼" in diameter that ripen in fall.

Suggested Uses

Taylor Juniper is an upright-growing columnar conifer providing all-season interest with its attractive silvery-green foliage. This plant can grow in a plethora of growing conditions and is highly adaptable, tolerant of drought, deer, salt, shallow-gravelly soils, and even black walnut.

Able to thrive in average soils makes choosing a suitable planting location much easier. The only condition it doesn’t tolerate is overly saturated soils with poor drainage. While it does appreciate consistent moisture, your soils should be well-draining. Taylor Juniper doesn’t like being constantly wet.

Drought tolerance is a great feature of Taylor Juniper, having some of the best drought resistance of conifers native to the eastern portions of the United States.

Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ is an outstanding choice for privacy screens and framing entrances, or it can be used to anchor the corners of buildings or as an accent in landscape beds.

Beautiful, silver-green foliage and a refined, narrow form add elegance to the landscape. It is similar in style to that of Italian Cypress but more dense and able to withstand our cold temperatures in Wisconsin. If you’re going for a Tuscan look, Taylor Juniper is the best hardy option for our area.

Are you looking for a tall and skinny evergreen but struggle with deer in your area? Are you tired of supplying them with a buffet of Arborvitae? Then…

Wildlife Value

Thanks to its native heritage, Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ has an interesting variety of insects and wildlife it helps sustain. The caterpillars of the Olive Hairstreak butterfly and Juniper Geometer moth feed on the foliage.

What holds the most significant value to wildlife are the berry-like cones. They are relatively high in carbohydrates and fats and are eaten by many songbirds and upland game birds.

Birds aren’t the only ones who enjoy the cones. Mammalian foragers such as foxes, opossums, chipmunks, raccoons, and even black bears feed on the cones.

Maintenance Tips

Taylor Juniper is an easy-going, low-maintenance plant, often requiring little to no pruning to maintain its compact, columnar form. If pruning is desired, the best time would be when the plant is dormant, in late fall, winter, and early spring.

One of the great attributes of Taylor Juniper is its strong central leader. Thanks to this, it stands a much better chance of being unbothered by snow damage. During times of heavy snowfall, some evergreens that have multiple trunks can be splayed open from the weight of the snow. Conifers with strong central leaders, like Taylor Juniper can hold themselves up to heavy snow.

Are you looking for a tall and skinny evergreen but struggle with deer in your area? Are you tired of supplying them with a buffet of Arborvitae? Then…


Cedar apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae) is the most prevalent disease associated with junipers. This rust pathogen cannot live without a living plant host to complete its life cycle. This particular fungus requires two hosts, a primary and a secondary. Its primary host is always a juniper, while the secondary host is an apple or crabapple. The pathogen overwinters as a gall on junipers and reinfects nearby apples and crabapples the following spring. In fall, round, woody galls can be found on twigs and small branches of junipers. In the wet spring weather, these galls produce orange, gummy, tentacle-like projections, which look incredibly bizarre. When dry, the gummy orange structures shrivel up to a dry, reddish-brown. Galls can dry and rehydrate several times in one spring.

Thankfully, these galls on junipers do little harm to the plant and do not need to be managed, and can be pruned off to improve the look of the plant. Fungicides are not recommended to protect junipers from infection. However, there are resistant varieties. Resistant varieties of Juniperus virginiana with columnar habits include ‘Burkii’ and ‘Hillspire’.

Leaf Lore

Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’ is a cultivated variety of our native, Eastern Red Cedar, Juniperus virginiana. Eastern Red Cedars get their name because in winter, their foliage often turns to a brownish-maroon color. So don’t be fooled into thinking your plant is dying; this is normal to see!

‘Taylor’ was reportedly discovered in Taylor, Nebraska, as a seedling. It was released to the nursery trade world by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum in 1992.

Companion Plants

Most commonly, we see Taylor Junipers planted alongside other Taylor Junipers to form a screen. Thanks to its adaptability, there are countless potential compansion plants if you want to add some color or varying textures. Some ideas include other conifers with softer foliage, such as pine or fir. Combine with colorful deciduous shrubs like smokebush, honeysuckle, and sumac. Plant alongside tall and showy ornamental grasses like Big Bluestem, Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass, or Northwind Switch Grass to add contrast and movement.

Are you looking for a tall and skinny evergreen but struggle with deer in your area? Are you tired of supplying them with a buffet of Arborvitae? Then…
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Written by Miles Minter