Ask a Question forum: Juniperus Conferta needles turn brown

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Jul 25, 2018 12:37 PM CST
About 3 months ago, I've bought two Juniperus Conferta Blue Pacific plant for the balcony.
About a month ago BOTH began to have some of the needles turn brown, mostly on one side (see the difference in pictures).
I asked someone at the store where I have bought them and they said it is either some fungi (at their recommendation we already sprayed twice with Dithane, but we did not see big changes), or that they did not get enough light on those sides (which is not likely, as they are displayed on an open balcony).
We have another theory: because we put the plants, together with their original pots into larger decorative pots, is it possible that the water did not drain well after we wet them, thus affecting the roots?
Two things to mention here:
1. After the watering, we empty the excess water that is collected in the big pots.
2. When we bought these plants, we also bought two Pigea Glauca Conica spruces, which have the same regime of care and are perfectly healthy.

What do you think would be the cause of this problem? If the roots were affected by the water, can they still be saved?
We took the plants out of the decorative pots and they seem to get better and grow new, green and healthy branches.

Recently we have also noticed some MEALYBUGS on the plants and the plant yellowing on the inside, under the top green and healthy branches, towards the center of the plant. We have read online that this could be a side effect of the mealybugs sucking up the plants` juice.

We found some treatments online with rubbing alcohol or insecticidal soap, but the problem is we did not find these products here in Romania. We tried with 70% ethanol alcohol on a single branch and we are waiting to se reactions from the plant. We have also killed the mealybugs using a toothpick and an earbud soaked in the above-mentioned alcohol.
They seem to be in a small number, but we want to prevent them from spreading, as fast as possible.
Any ideas on how to get rid of them, naturally? We also have a cat and we want to avoid toxic stuff that could harm her.

Thank you so much.
Thumb of 2018-07-25/blueConferta/2030ff
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Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid hobbyist/Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Dahlias Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Jul 25, 2018 12:46 PM CST
I think that they were underwatered and the insect issues arose because of that. When they need watering, you have to deep water them.

But if you want to plant them into an attractive planter, that's fine but don't start adding decorative stones or other material to the soil surface. They will only effect the drying rate of the soil. You'll be able to tell just when the plant needs to be watered properly without those stones there.
“The only stupid question is the one that is never asked!”
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jul 25, 2018 1:15 PM CST
I agree with Bill. Your plant is underwatered. Even though it is sitting on an open deck, one side will always get more exposure then the other sides. That is the side that will show damage first and also the side that will have insect invasions first.

Rubbing alcohol is Isopropyl alcohol - used as an antiseptic and for cleaning. Ethanol is drinking alcohol. It would be reasonable to assume you could use either but, Isopropyl alcohol will kill people and animals (and bugs) and ethanol alcohol will kill plants.

Most insecticides will kill mealybugs but, because of the way isopropyl alcohol and insecticidal soap works, the mealybugs never build up resistance to them. Mealybugs will build up resistence to regular insecticides very quickly.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost


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