I have about 400 junipers on the side of a hill I can’t mow. Most are blue rug. The ones in the center, which is the steepest part, are tall growing junipers. The center ones seem to be dying. I don’t have a clue why.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Jon in Kentucky: Is it possible that we have had communication about your junipers before? Depending on the percentage of brown foliage, they may or may not be salvageable. Typically when we see yellow/brown foliage on evergreens it is in the inner part of the plant. This is a normal shedding process they go through each year, allowing more room for new growth. Are your 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 usually do not put on any new growth to replace the dead. If the majority of the plant is brown, it should be removed. 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. Remember that even established plantings can require supplemental water when Mother Nature does not provide enough rainfall. If you have not already taken a sample to your County Cooperative Extension Service, it would be a good idea. The horticulture agent will be able to give you a more definitive diagnosis and treatment options to help save your junipers.