I have a hillside of junipers with a blue rug on the outside and taller ones in the center. They are 8 years old. The center ones are brown and dying: any suggestions?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Beverly in Kentucky: There could be a few different reasons why the junipers in the center are not happy. It has been such a hot and dry summer that even established plantings can require supplemental water when Mother Nature does not provide enough rainfall. Junipers require full sun, meaning they need a minimum of six hours of direct light to thrive. If they are not getting enough light they will become stressed and are more prone to insect and disease issues. There are many species of juniper and some are more disease-resistant than others, but spider mites are a very common problem. We usually notice the symptoms before we notice the tiny mites. Look for webbing along the branches. When we see yellow/brown foliage on evergreens it is usually on the inner part of the plant. This is a normal shedding process they go through each year, allowing more room for new growth. Are the evergreens brown just in the center or are they brown throughout the plant? If the latter is true, it does not sound good. Unfortunately, once evergreens turn brown it is usually too late to help them. They typically do not put on any new growth to replace the dead. If the majority of the plant is brown, they should be removed. Otherwise you should take a sample to your County Cooperative Extension Service. The horticulture agent will be able to give you a more definitive diagnosis and treatment options to help save your junipers.