The Q&A Archives: Juniper Turning Brown

Question: We have 3 Junipers in our yard, 2 are fine, other is turning very light & brownish while others are very green & healthy looking. Store recommended Iron product but not sure how often to use it & how much more watering??? Thnks Marilyn

Answer: Iron can improve iron chlorosis - a yellowing of the leaves, but I don't know that it will help your juniper. Brownish or tannish foliage on junipers usually indicates death of the foliage, most often from a root problem (although a fungal disease can cause similar symptoms so look closely at the leaves to see if you can find tiny black dots). Root rot can occur in junipers if the soil holds too much water. Soil in different parts of the same garden can be completely different in terms of texture and drainage issues. I would dig the juniper up and inspect the root system to see if it is healthy. Break a couple of the roots. Healthy roots are creamy white inside; dead or dying roots will be brown or rusty colored. There might also be a foul odor, especially if the roots are mushy. If the roots are dead or diseased, you should replace the plant (after amending the soil with compost or other organic matter to help improve drainage). If the roots look healthy - amend the soil with compost to help improve drainage and then replant your juniper. Hope this information helps you determine the cause of the dieback on your juniper!

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