En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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

Sunday - August 01, 2010

From: St. Louis, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Disease of eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have multiple Eastern Red Cedars spaced in my woods which are sick and dying. Some were transplanted years ago, others are volunteers, all are less than 4 ft tall. The foliage turns brown in various places throughout the plant top to bottom and this seems to spread without cause. On some branches it starts at the tips, other times not. There are no cysts, or growths and no visible fungus, mold or pests. I live in St. Louis, MO. This started in the spring and continues through the summer. They are not drought stressed. Do you know how to save my trees? Thanks.


Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America, but we aren't necessarily experts on their diseases and how to cure them.  We hope, however, we can point you in the right direction to find resources that can help you with your Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) problems.  There are several diseases that are listed as common to the junipers, but the three with symptoms that sound most like that of your trees are:

1) the Phomopsis and Kabatina Tip Blights of Junipers caused by the two fungi Phomopsis juniperova and Kabatina juniperi.  This article lists control measures including watering, fertilizing and pruning advice, as well as methods for chemical control.  Here is more information on Phomopsis blight and on Kabatina tip blight.

2) the fungus Pseudocercospora juniperi (syn. Cercospora sequoiae var. juniperi) that causes Cercospora Blight of Juniper.  The Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain juniper) is most susceptible.  Although Eastern Red Cedar is resistant to this disease, it does occasionally occur on it.  Here is more information on the Cercospora blight.

Of course, the best way to be sure if one of these is infecting your trees is to contact a professional arborist to look at them.  You might also contact your St. Louis County MU Extension Center to see if they have had other reports of diseased junipers.



More Trees Questions

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Suckers or ??? in Arlington, TX
September 12, 2014 - Do I have live oak suckers or an invasive plant? We bought a house a few years ago in Arlington, TX with two beautiful old live oak trees, and mostly just bare sand-dirt under them. Under one t...
view the full question and answer

Oak sprouts in flower bed in Colleyville TX
April 04, 2011 - We have a raised flower bed in our back yard that includes 2 live oak trees. We have a TON of shoots that keep popping up and make our bed look very untidy. My husband doesn't think the shoots are ...
view the full question and answer

Theory for live oak shoots from Austin
August 25, 2011 - More on preventing suckers from coming up around live oaks in Austin. I too have been puzzled - why some live oaks have shoots, and not others. Posting here says different varieties have suckers. ...
view the full question and answer

protecting native trees during drought
June 07, 2011 - We are very concerned about our mature live oaks and cedar elms because they are so stressed due to the drought. We have lost several of our mountain juniper and I really don't want to lose our more...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center