En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Problems with Ashe juniper from Lakeway TX

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

Saturday - May 25, 2013

From: Lakeway, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Trees
Title: Problems with Ashe juniper from Lakeway TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Sir/Madam, I have been living for the last three years in Lakeway, Texas approximately 20 miles west of Austin. In my back garden there are several ashe junipers about 15-20ft tall. However, I am most concerned about the one in the center of the garden which is about 30-35ft tall. There are green needles only on the upper third of the tree due, I believe, to the age of the tree. It is the only one in the past month that has developed a wide spread of brown clumps of needles that have begun to fall to the ground. I cannot ascertain if this is symptomatic of its growth, if it is diseased or if it has been traumatized. Last month a major storm snapped off a couple of huge limbs which had to be sawed off. It was after this incidence that I became aware of the falling clumps of needles. I would be most appreciative if you could tell me if I should be concerned about the health of the tree and what measures, if any, I should take.

ANSWER:

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on browning of Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper)  due to drought. It has been very dry in Central Texas this year, although it is raining outside as we speak,  but it sounds like you may have other problems in your tree. We are particularly concerned about the storm damage and removed limbs. If the area of the trunk where the branches were sawed off were not treated with pruning paint, there might have been the possibility of some disease or damaging insect gaining access to the vascular system in the tree through those wounds.

From Texas A&M Forest Service, we found this article on the juniper webworm, the symptoms of which sound very similar to what you are reporting. In fact, Lakeway, in Travis County, is mentioned in this article:

"The author thanks Carrie Burns, forester for the City of Lakeway; Eric Beckers, oak wilt forester for the Texas A&M Forest Service; and Ron Billings, principal entomologist with the Texas A&M Forest Service for information and photos included in this report."

This report was written in 2002, but the fact that the forester for the City of Lakeway did a report on this problem is an indication that the insect is around in your area. Another problem that we learned of is juniper blight, which we researched in an article from Clemson University Extension. This did not sound that specific to the problems you discuss, and we also learned that juniper blight was more apt to occur east of the Mississippi, so that may not be your situation, but we still recommend you read the whole article and look for similarities.

We are inclined, purely on symptomatic results, to believe the juniper webworm is your problem and hope you will study that whole article, too. However, we are not entomologists and recommend you contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Office for Tarrant County to see if they have some updated infomation on the problem. Here are some pictures and more information on the juniper webworm.

The pictures below are from our native plant Image Gallery. With the exception of the first picture, they are all showing normal growth. Unfortunately, we have no information on what caused the browning in the first picture.

 

From the Image Gallery


Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

More Pests Questions

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars ate my Sophora in La Mesa, CA.
July 06, 2011 - Before I noticed what was happening, my newly-planted 1 foot tall Sophora secundiflora was eaten by caterpillars. It now has no foliage. Do you think it will leaf out again?
view the full question and answer

Possible maple scale on non-native mophead hydrangeas from Newport RI
August 07, 2013 - I have a mophead hydrangea that has small white cottony tufts under the leaves and on the stems. I believe this is maple scale. Is there a home remedy I can use to rid this disease?
view the full question and answer

Infestation of shiny red and blue/black beetles
May 27, 2014 - I have an infestation of 1 cm long shiny red and blue/black beetles. They have red heads with black eyes and antenna, 2 (?) red spots on their sides, and a bluish black body. Before I kill them with ...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center