Ashe Juniper problem

(Jack Rice) #1

I have a problem with my Ashe Juniper I need some help with.
The leaves are turning brownish. There are other leaves unaffected.
One picture shows the discolored area on the lower right side of the tree.
Another shows a close up of the discoloring and the third shows natural coloring.
I’ve had the collected tree 20 years and is potted up using Akadama, lava and pumice equally.
The juniper has done well for many years but over the past couple months the color changed a bit…I fertilize once a week with organics from March to October and water 3-times a day (I live in HOT South TEXAS). I’ve change to watering just twice a day. I suspect a fungus as I’ve fought diplodia on a couple others for 6 months…
Do you have any thoughts about a possible cause or remedy?

(Frank Corrigan) #2

Based on the location of the affected area, my first question would be when was it last repotted?
My inclination would be to check the root area below the affected area for possible root issues.
Perhaps you have already done so?
My line of thought is connected to how Juniper roots maintain foliage and branches.

(Jack Rice) #3

Thanks for you question, Frank.
I suspected a root issue, too and re-potted a few weeks ago. I found no issues.

(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Is this the first time you’ve seen such discoloration in Ashe juniper?

I don’t know what it is but I’d want to try and find out. Do you have a plant pathology lab at some TX university that offers a disease ID service? If it’s fungus, it’d be good to know which so you could target the proper pathogen.

(Frank Corrigan) #5

Thanks for the pictures and comment. I agree with Jonas. it appears from your commentary and pictures that you have ruled out the basics.
Good Luck. Would be interested in the determination and suggested treatment.

(Jack Rice) #6

Jonas; first time I ever seen this type color pop on a juniper of any kind. I’ll see what I can do to find a university to help ID the issue and a solution. I was hoping for someone on this and/or other forums who have experience to chime in.

(Sely) #7

I own several ashe juniper and I’m in North Texas. In the wild they all have this bronze red color during the winter. I noticed that my specimen trees are green but the ones I allow to grow free tends to red up during winter a lot more.

(Jack Rice) #8

Thank you very much for your input, Sely.
I see that on recently collected juniper but never on well established material…another curious thing is that the discolored area is only in one general area and NOT at the top of the tree which is where I’d expect to see it if it was due to cold temps…
I do see that discoloration on boxwood for sure.

(Sely) #9

It always seems to migrate upward and mostly interior and the tips are kind of yellow green. The funny thing is that we don’t realize that when we dig them up they are in alkaline soil and we treat them like we do our pines, acidic that is.

(Jonas Dupuich) #10

Bronzing is common on junipers when it gets cold, but it surprised me to hear you hadn’t seen this color at your place before. Has it been particularly cold?

(Jack Rice) #11

Jonas-I thought about my comment yesterday and re-thought it a bit. I DO see some color change during and just after winter on my junipers. I confirmed that yesterday and yes, it has been particularly cold for South Texas this winter. I guess it was a slip of memory banks. What I’ve NOT seen is this type of off-coloring pictured above which I diagnosed as different-and it is… What is troubling me is the bronze color is just next to a twig with normal color on the same branch.

(Jonas Dupuich) #12

Yeah, that’s the bit that seems off to me too. Sometimes discoloration occurs after repotting, but you repotted after seeing the color change. The lab approach can at least help rule out fungus if it ends up being something else.

(Sely) #13

We don’t get bronzing on juniper very often here but it does occur. The interesting thing is that out of all my jbp only 1 that bronzes up. Most of them stay relatively green and only a few starts to get the reddish green. But out of 400 only that one lightens up and bronze.

(Jack Rice) #14

I guess I need to find a lab pretty quickly then, Jonas.

Sely; My juniper trees don’t show bronzing much but I did notice some after rethinking and actually studying what is on my benches. Not too much, however.

(Jack Rice) #15


I contacted Colin Lewis about the problem and here’s his suggestion;

Many junipers become purple when cold dormant, but that’s not going to happen where you live. My hope would be some vascular damage that affects the lower branches on that one side is responsible, and a redesign would solve the problem. But I see there are smaller outbreaks within otherwise healthy branches, which does indicate fungal issues.

First, I would cut out all dead and dying branches - right out, leaving tiny jins at best, and sterilizing the blades after each cut (Zerotol or alcohol and fire!). The two go-to fungicides that I use are Daconil and Mancozeb. I also use a product called Zerotol which is anti-bacterial as well as a fungicide. This should also be watered into the soil to combat pseudomonas. It’s only available in commercial quantities - like 2.5 gallons, so it’s not cheap but well worth it.

I thought about it for a day then took my trusty cutters and removed the first small branch. I noticed that that small branch was not strong and was sort of spongy which indicated to me it was already dead or at least dying. I kept going and removed a larger branch, sterilizing the blades with alcohol and fire. I noticed the fungus - a dusty substance - was on my gloves. After finishing all the removal, I piled the limbs and greenery and burned them. Here’s a picture of the work;

I ordered the Zerotol today as I’ve already tried Daconil and Mancozeb with no effect on my problem. You are right-a little pricy. I am making corn water tea - to generate the Trachyderma, an organic fungicide - suggested by a local horticulturalist for use until your expensive stuff shows up.

Fingers crossed.

(Frank Corrigan) #16

Thanks for passing on the decision process as well as the suggestions. Sounds like a carefully thought out approach. Best wishes