Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 08, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Ashe Juniper not doing well in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

A large ash juniper (mountain cedar) in my yard appears to be sick or dying. Approximately 1/4 of the canopy has very sparse needles/green foliage stuff and shaggier than normal bark. It's not brown or rusty in appearance, just very sparse compared to the rest of the tree. Since its so tall, I can't inspect the branches up close to look for signs of infestation, but in researching known pests, I read that cedars really aren't prone to any disease. How can I determine if my tree is sick or dying? Any ideas? Is there anything I can do to help it?

ANSWER:

We agree, you don't ordinarily think of this plant as having problems. More people want to get rid of it than take care of it. Because we are not plant pathologists and, of course, can't see the tree in question, we went hunting on the Internet to see if we could find clues for you. Some of these have pictures, and we will give you a link to a couple of Google Images sites to compare with your tree. The two from New Mexico State University and West Virginia State University were the only mentions of spider mites. One was written two years ago and mentions that the weather had been dry, which helped contribute to spider mite infestation. We have an opposite situation here this year, with a lot of rain. 

If you get the impression that we really don't know what is causing the die-back on your tree, you are absolutely right. After you have read these sites, and compared the symptoms with your tree, we suggest you contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office for Bexar County. They are more likely to be familiar with this problem than we are.

Cornell University Juniper Tip Blight "Drought, freezing, dog urine and transplant shock can cause similar dieback symptoms."

Morton Arboretum Juniper Tip Blight "Common disease of junpers in most states east of the Mississippi River."

West Virginia University Extension Service Twig Blight of Juniper "This disease could be confused with cold injury or spider mites." Images of Juniper Twig Blight from Google.

USDA Forest Insects & Disease Leaflet Phomopsis Blight of Junipers

New Mexico State University Juniper branches turning brown Blames spider mites.

Washington State University The Trouble with Juniper Mentions that too much humidity and moisture can cause this browning, as well as aphids. Images of aphids on junipers from Google.

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Pacific dogwood not fruiting
September 30, 2009 - We have a beautiful Pacific Dogwood in front of our balcony. In some years it has fruit (berries) but has not for the past two years. When it does, it becomes a magnet for Northern Flickers. Is the pr...
view the full question and answer

Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
January 01, 2009 - I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

Source for trees from Burnet TX
August 19, 2012 - I am desperately searching the central Texas area for Pistacia Mexicana male and female trees to buy. I would like about four, maybe more. I live in the Killeen-Lampasas area and have been to seve...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on oaks in North Liberty IA
June 12, 2010 - My oak trees (young and old) are showing leaf problems. Is there a disease or insect causing oak tree disease?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.