The Q&A Archives: Blue Star Juniper Fertilization

Question: I think I have over fertilized my blue star juniper. Last fall I tossed some lawn fertilizer onto the bed and this winter the area I fertilized has turned brown. Is there anything I can do.

Answer: Unfortunately, there is not too much you can do once the damage has occurred. If the plants are still alive, at this point you could either trim away the browned branches (if it is not too extensive) or wait and see if they can green up again by regrowth during the growing season. The browned needles will eventually fall off or you can rub or shake them off. Overfertilizing or applying a weed and feed to ornamental plantings can do more harm than good as you have seen. Try not to let it happen again, but if ever does happen again, try to rinse it off immediately to prevent "burning" the foliage with the salts in the fertilizer and to break the contact between the herbicide and the foliage. Also, since lawn fertilizer tends to be very high in nitrogen compared to what shrubs such as junipers might need, do not fertilize these plants again this season. Finally, since our weather has been very dry, you might try a deep watering or two to try to begin the leaching process whereby any excess nitrogen will move through the soil. Good luck with your plants.

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