why is my juniper dying

Why Juniper Hedge Dying? (Here’s Why & How to Fix It!)

Juniper hedge could be dying due to Tip blight if the tree is browning. If the tree is overwatered the Juniper dies due to root rot. A serious Bagworm can kill your Juniper too if left unattended. Infestations of Aphids or Scales can also kill the Juniper.

Juniper makes nice, evergreen hedges. Juniper is desirable because it can even thrive in poor, sandy soils. Juniper hedges stay green throughout the year.

Juniper is a versatile shrub which can also be used as a ground cover. Juniper shrub responds well to your pruning efforts.

Although the Juniper shrub is recommended by many it does run into some problems. Let’s see what they are and how to fix them.

Newly planted Juniper turning brown?

Needle-leaves of Juniper turn brown when the plant is experiencing transplant shock. Did you transplant your Juniper recently?

Plants undergo transplant shock when they couldn’t adjust to the changed environmental conditions. Transplant shock turns the entire Juniper shrub turn brown/yellow.

This also happens if the root ball went dry while transporting. In this situation your Juniper might look like it’s dead/dying but the plant can recover.

You need not panic if your Juniper is experiences transplant shock. Give your Juniper 1-inch of water every week.

Add a layer of organic mulch around your Juniper hedge to prevent excess evaporation of moisture. Cut off the dead branches. The plant will recover soon if you take good care of it.

Why are the tips of my Junipers turning brown?

Tips of Junipers turn brown due to a disease called Twig blight. This disease is caused by a fungus called ‘Phomopsis juniperovora’.

What does Juniper blight look like?

Initially the infected leaves turn reddish brown. Eventually the infected leaves turn dark gray in color.  Twig blight is characterized by die back of the new foliage which moves downward into the central foliage.

What causes Juniper tip blight?

Juniper tip blight is caused by a fungus called Phomopsis juniperovora. The fungal might spread from an infected plant to a healthy plant through insects, mechanical means, or water splashes.

The fungal pathogen lives for up to 2 years in a dead plant/dead plant part. So, it is crucial to get rid of the dead plant parts carefully.

How do you treat Juniper twig blight?

  • Do not plant your Juniper in shady areas. Space your Junipers so that there’s good air circulation around them.
  • Do not wound your Junipers unnecessarily.
  • Water plants in the morning and try to keep your leaves dry.
  • Plant cultivars that are resistant to twig blight.
  • If twig blight is recurring in your Juniper, treat the plant with a copper fungicide to prevent future infections.
  • If the infection is severe, get rid of the infected Juniper.

Best fungicide for Juniper tip blight

Fungicides containing Thiophanate methyl or Mancozeb as active ingredient work wonders. Spray this fungicide in early spring fortnightly for the best results.

Kabatina tip blight

Kabatina tip blight is another type of blight that can infect Junipers. This fungus attacks Juniper via wounds, so don’t wound your plant unnecessarily.

Kabatina tip blight symptoms are seen earlier than Phomopsis tip blight’s. In February and March the tips of the branches turn red or yellow.

Infection occurs in the autumn but the symptoms aren’t seen until early spring. Control methods listed above work for Kabatina tip blight too.

Cankers appear on the stem in both the cases. Responding to the early symptoms is ideal.

Do Junipers turn brown in winter?

Juniper may turn brown in winter due to the Kabatina tip blight disease or a condition called winter desiccation.

In winter desiccation occurs because of the winds. Junipers affected by desiccation won’t be able to absorb adequate water.

Juniper Root Rot

Juniper root rot is a fungal disease that is facilitated by waterlogged conditions. Waterlogged conditions are caused by overwatering.

What does an overwatered juniper look like?

Root rot is caused by Phytophtora, an algal pathogen. Affected plant’s leaves turn bluish gray.  Leaves eventually turn brown and the plant dies. Die back may happen only on a part/side of Juniper.

How to control root rot in Juniper?

  • Improve the soil drainage around your Juniper.
  • If your Juniper is severely infected, dispose of it carefully.
  • As soon as you notice overwatering symptoms reduce the watering frequency.
  • Spray suitable fungicides on the infected plant, your Juniper may survive yet.

Juniper turned brown and died

Juniper trees turn brown and die when it’s infested by Bagworms. Juniper tree is as good as dead if the 80% of the tree turns brown.

Do Junipers get Bagworms?

Bagworms love to feed on Junipers. Larvae of Bagworms feed on the foliage of Juniper trees. Bagworms usually infest the plant early in the summer.

A large infestation of Bagworms cause browning on the entire tree and eventually kill it.

How do you treat Bagworms on Junipers?

I always suggest prevention of pests/diseases rather than treating the affected plants.

Prevention of Bagworms

  • Keeping your Juniper tree healthy is crucial if you want the plant to tackle such pests.
  • Make sure the inner branches of your Juniper are well-ventilated.
  • Clean the plant debris and get rid of carefully.

Control of Bagworms

  • Get rid of the bags in the spring as soon as you see them. Throw these cut bags in a bucket of soapy water.
  • Bacillus thuringiensis spray works effectively if the infestation is in an early stage.
  • To treat severe infestations spray Carbaryl. You can find Carbaryl under the brand names ‘Sevin’ or ‘Permethrin’.

Why do Junipers turn yellow?

Juniper trees turn yellow when the plant doesn’t get adequate Iron. Juniper tree also turns yellow when the tree doesn’t get adequate Manganese and Zinc.

Iron Chlorosis in Juniper

Iron Chlorosis is a condition where plants don’t get adequate amount of Iron. In this condition the entire tree turns yellow.

Adding chelated iron to the soil helps cure Iron Chlorosis in Juniper trees.

Manganese and Zinc Deficiency

Manganese and Zinc are micro-nutrients. They are required by plants in minute quantities. Juniper trees suffer from disorders if the soil lacks these elements.

Deficiency of these minerals turns the top branches yellow. Check the pH of the soil and if it’s optimal add these elements to the soil.

Yellow spots on Needle leaves of Juniper

Place a white paper below a Juniper branch and shake it. If there’s an infestation, you’ll see tiny specks falling on the paper.

Spider mites on Juniper

Get a magnifying glass and take a look at the insects. If you see red, green, yellow or brown eight-legged insects then the plant is infested by spider mites.

How to get rid of spider mites on Junipers?

You’ll see webcasts on the infested parts of your Juniper. Cut off such needle-leaves and dispose of them carefully.

Mix distilled water and rubbing alcohol in 1-1 ratio. Spray this solution on the infested parts of your Juniper. Do this daily until you get rid of spider mites.

Does Juniper attract bugs?

Yes, Juniper trees attract a variety of insect pests. Junipers can be infested by bugs like Aphids, Scale, Spider mites and Bagworms.

We already discussed about the Spider mite and Bagworm infestations, let’s see what damage Aphids and Scale can do.

Aphids on Juniper

Aphids on Juniper trees can be seen in colonies. They feed off the sap of the victim tree and produce honeydew, which attracts ants and fungus alike.

A variety of fungi then accumulate on the tree turning it black. This black outgrowths of fungi is called Sooty mold.

You may want to hang sticky yellow cards around your Juniper tree to catch aphid infestation early on. You can get rid of aphids by spraying water at them if you find them early.

Spray Neem oil if the aphid infestation on your Juniper is severe. You may want to use insecticides if you think the infestation is almost out-of-hand.

What is Juniper scale?

Scale is a common pest of Juniper trees in the eastern US. Scales that infest Juniper are 2mm in size and are light-gray/white colored.

You need to identify scale infestation early and treat the tree as early as possible. If the infestation becomes severe it can even kill the Juniper tree.

How do I get rid of Juniper scale?

Apply a 2-percent oil spray to the infested spray when the crawlers are active. You may want to use Sun Spray Ultra Fine Oil to prevent any damage to your Juniper tree.

If the infestation is severe you may want to spray Orthene on the infested parts/tree. Spray thrice at 10-day intervals.

If you spray Orthene you are also getting rid of other beneficial insects. So, inspect susceptible plants often and treat ’em when needed.

Happy Gardening 🙂