Can you tell me how I can fix this browning on my blue arrow juniper. This...

Asked May 29, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT

Can you tell me how I can fix this browning on my blue arrow juniper. This plant was planted 3 years ago. It had some of this last season and has increased this year. How can I tell if this is winter burn and I need to apply Wilt Pruf in late fall/early winter or if it is blight or an insect issue?

Dakota County Minnesota

3 Responses

Here is a response from another Master Gardener about this problem. It has been very common this year:

Winter burn occurs when winter sun and wind cause excessive needle water loss while the roots are in frozen soil and unable to replace lost water. This results in desiccation and browning of the needles. Wait until mid-spring before pruning out injured foliage. Brown foliage is most likely dead and will not green up, but the buds, which are more cold hardy than foliage, will often grow and fill in areas where brown foliage was removed. If the buds have not survived, prune dead branches back to living tissue. Winter burn can be reduced if evergreens are kept properly watered throughout the growing season and into the fall.
-dennis mn Master Gardener

So based on my photo, you believe this is winter burn and not a disease such as blight or an insect issue such as spider mites?

Winter burn usually occurs on one side of the plant. If these young trees are quite exposed, and have been subject to the harsh north winds and winter sunlight they may show damage all around the plant.

If they have aphids you should be able to see them. Use a magnifying glass and look carefully where the twigs join the branch. They are quite small, and may be whitish in color, somewhat similar to the normal whitish bark on new growth. There are other pests that attack junipers. Take a look at this publication to see if your trees may be suffering from any of them. There are control methods listed in this link, as well:

Thanks for contacting AaE!