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

Tuesday - November 08, 2011

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Are brown junipers (Juniperus ashei) dead?
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


If the cedar/junipers in our area are brown, will they ever come back green? Or just clear them out as dead. There are many of them due to the drought. Thank you.


Unfortunately, your Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) are most likely dead.   Deciduous trees can react to stress by losing their leaves earlier than usual and then re-leaf in the spring or even before spring if the situation causing the stress is alleviated.  For instance, this summer during the scorching temperatures and no rain the Juglans nigra (Black walnut) in my yard and the Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) in my neighbor's yard both had most of their leaves turn yellow and fall, but after the 2-inch rain in September they produced new green leaves.  Brown evergreens, however, are probably dead evergreens.  However, you can test them by bending the smaller branches.  If the branches are flexible and full of sap, they’re still alive.  If they’re brittle and dry, they’re dead and won’t come back.  Some of the “brown” junipers that are still alive will put out new growth in the spring, but it will be from the tips of branches.  If the browned junipers do survive, they’re likely to be unattractive for quite some time.  That might be reason enough to remove them. 


More Trees Questions

Live Oak Suckers
March 21, 2011 - Hello, my neighbor cleared away their St. Augustine grass for mulch and plantings. Under a huge, beautiful Live Oak tree they placed a wide bed of medium gravel, almost out to the drip line. It look...
view the full question and answer

Small native trees for northern Virginia
September 27, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple in northern Virginia. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my...
view the full question and answer

Chickasaw Plum suckering potential in Washington DC area
May 11, 2015 - I have planted some chickasaw plums around the border of my property. My property is surrounded by a wooded area, which then opens into a golfcourse. Is there a chance that my chickasaw plums would...
view the full question and answer

Dead portions on oak tree in Hutchinson KS
August 22, 2011 - I have an oak tree on the property I just moved into. One tree is healthy, the other has a dead side or almost dead. It did have some new green leaves on the dead branches but not many. What should...
view the full question and answer

Suffering Yaupon in Austin
July 14, 2012 - I am in the Austin area and I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon in my back yard in March. It is in full sun. Lately the leaves have been turning pale green and now they fall off the tree upon touchi...
view the full question and answer

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