Japanese Juniper Soil and Needles Color


I just bought this small JJ today but got a feeling that the needles are ‘dry’ and not as green. Also the soil looks like containing more clay (see pic).

Question: what is contributing to the dry needles and not so green color and do i need to change the soil (and can the soil mix be similar to the JBP soil mix?).

Need advise :smile:


(Frank Corrigan) #2

Interesting pictures. Very difficult to actually see what the situation is with roots and the relationship the tree has with the container size etc. Would you please take a few more pictures that show the overall and other sides.
Thank you


Hi Frank,

The pot size is about 1" x 4.5" x 3" hope this helps you to make the recommendation.

also the soil around the trump is so hard like a dried clay, hardly i can insert a toothpick into it.


(Darth Masiah) #4

the soil looks hard and compacted. getting it into some better draining substrate as soon as possible is what id do.

(Frank Corrigan) #5

Yes it would be best to repot in better soil mix and i would suggest a bit larger pot to foster recovery and better health. Also it needs to be kept outside. i am not sure of your location or climate so that has a bearing on aftercare.
It appears the wiring was done quite a while ago and my inclination would be to remove it carefully at this time and allow the tree to recover before moving forward with design or development.


thanks both Masiah and Frank and i’m going to change the soil this weekend but i need to be careful not to break the roots during the soil change. and i’ll take Frank’s advice to remove the wire as well. the nursery actual the juniper under open and sun all the time and i was told they water the plants twice a day.


(Frank Corrigan) #7

A good technique in a situation like this is to wash the old soil away gently and take your time. Use chopstick to help separate roots and remove larger particles, but keep the roots damp as you go. Misting the tree with a spray bottle every 10 minutes is also a good idea. Then be sure to work the new soil between the roots when repotting and try to fill in all air pockets with new soil. Good Luck

(Darth Masiah) #8

a good way to get hard soil to break up is to set the whole root ball in a tub of water and slowly mush the dirt out of the root system.


Was worrying about how to breakdown the already harden clay soils without braking the roots and concern can I actually soak the pot into water to soften the clay and your advice comes just in time to solve my problem :blush:

Question: will doing this kill the benefice bacteria (read it somewhere from the internet) so is better to keep some soils attach to the roots for the repot?

(Frank Corrigan) #10

I would like to add a word of caution at this point. I prefer a rinsing action of gentle water swish or spray, working from the outside. When soaking the entire rootball before removing compacted soil there is the risk of chunks coming off at once and creating additional damage to an otherwise compromised root system. This method is slower but i feel it is safer and more effective.
Beneficial bacteria and other micro organisms will remain in the tiny particles attached to the roots and also within plant structure. Very difficult to eradicate the entire population so i would not concern oneself over this aspect. I often mix back in a very small portion of the original soil for good measure.


Noted and re potted it today and with wires removed.
The roots don’t seem growing will due to the compacted clay in my opinion?
Put it under shade at the moment, hope it can survive and doing well.
see pics attached for your info/comment.


(Frank Corrigan) #12

Your observation is spot on. The roots do not look very healthy. At this point i would mist the tree as well as water it well each day. Good Luck