blue star juniper - yellow / brown neddles - Knowledgebase Question

Pittsburgh, PA
Question by eric_zaretsk
August 14, 2005
I purchased several blue star junipers (Monrovia brand, of course) last summer and planted them in several locations in my garden. The new growth comes in nicely (rich silvery blue color). However, some of the older growth does not look so good. The older growth looks light green in color, and on individual needles the tips are yellow, and brown at the very end. Some shoots of the older growth have turned completely brown and have died altogether. I can?t understand how the new growth can look so great and the older growth seems to have some problem. I live in Pittsburgh and the soil has a high clay content. It?s slightly acidic (6.0 ? 6.5) based on my home kit measurements. The weather this summer has been hot and humid. I have not watered much this summer, except for on a couple of occasion where several weeks went by without any natural rainfall. I fertilized a little using the a basic all around shrub fertilizer that I spread on top of the soil. I have a picture that I can send if that would help diagnose the problem. Thanks for your help.

Answer from NGA
August 14, 2005


Based on your description it sounds like you have taken great care of your junipers. When the older growth at the base of the plant browns out it can indicate overwatering or a poorly drained planting site. Clay can sometimes cause this. However, since they are growing well I doubt this is the problem. Instead I suspect there may be a disease problem. I would suggest you work with your county extension to determine the specific cause of the browning and then work from there. If it is something that requires treatment they will have the most up to date recommendations on what to use and how/when is best to apply it. I hope it is nothing too serious.

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