Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

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Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  joagraha on Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:03 pm

Hello, I could really use some expert advice on a fantastic Juniper I recently found at a local nursury here in Austin, TX.

It was poorly potted in a plastic garden center pot. When I bought it (3-4 weeks ago) I noticed it had some pale yellow (almost blond) needles, but wasn't too concerned as they were not brittle and brown like I've seen in dead or dying Junipers. As you can see it's got some age on it and has lived through some abusive weather. It survived last summer's severe drought.

Here are the variables to consider:

POTTING: Once I got it home I immediately repotted it in a large bonsai pot so that I didn't need to take much of the roots off. I probably removed 10-20% of the roots

PRUNING: I am always reluctant to over-prune new junipers. I clipped approx. 10% of the branches and only those that were very small/weak and under the main canopy. I did not remove the any primary or secondary branches.

SOIL: The soil is a mixture of turface, orchid bark and perhaps 15% potting soil with sphagnum moss covering the any exposed soil level root bases (down here I feel even junipers need some organic soil to hold water once the 3months of consecutive 100 degree heat comes).

CURRENT WEATHER: Since buying it, the weather has been mild (high 60s at night to low 80s during day)

SUN EXPOSURE: having some experience collecting or repotting junipers here, I've been careful not to expose it to constant full sun. I've kept in a partially shady spot exposing it to only a couple hours of full sun and Partial Shade the rest of the day

WATERING & FEEDING: I've been trying to only water as needed. After an initial solid soak I've been watering every 3 days. I have not fed the tree with any fertilizer yet.

In summary, since buying and repotting the tree I've not seen much improvement in the color at all, in fact it's likely gotten worse. I've lost junipers in the past and do not want to lose this beauty as I think it has wonderful potential.

Please check out the attached pics. I think the topdown image best shows the condition I'm speaking about. Can anyone advise on what they believe the cause and potential remedy is?

Personally, I think it's received adequate water and sun. I wonder if the soil is holding too much water, but I don't know whether that is a cause of pale yellow needles. I'm nervous about repotting again in only turface and bark, unless I'm confident that this is the problem.

Please advise! Would these yellow needles most likely be due to poor soil, overwatering, underwatering, disease, pests??

Thank you for your help!!

joagraha
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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:17 pm

10-20% is a fair amount of root work when done this late in the year in the south. Damaged roots are less likely to be that efficient in taking up water, so watering "every 3 days" may be a bit much. Let the soil mget pretty dry throughout the pot before you water. A chopstick kept jammed into the soil and withdrawn daily can help you determine whether the soil is dry top to bottom.

That said, the tree doesn't look THAT bad. It does look as if it has not been fertilized in a LONG time. I know most folks say not to fertilized a newly transplanted tree for 2 weeks, but I've always given mine a fertilization with its first watering. It will NOT "burn" the roots. That is one of those myths that came from somewhere in never never land. However, again, the tree will be less-than-efficient in taking it up. Just follow label instructions -- or give a little less, if you like. Half strength is a waste.

Part sun is called for, with most of the sun coming in the morning -- especially where you are.

Good luck. It does show some promise. Just remember, though, if the tree does not pull through, it obviously was ailing when you got it.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  Justin_ on Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:09 pm

Are you sure it isn't just a variegated cultivar?

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:05 pm

I'd guess that it is not. As he says, all the yellow is at the tips of the foliage.

BUT, the green color is a bit peaked anyway.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  andy mcconnell on Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:51 am



i have two of these variegated foilage and very rough warty bark also be careful when you wire very brittle branches
andy

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  joagraha on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:16 am

Jim,

thank you for the thoughtful reply. I am going to apply an organic fertilizer the next time I water. I am concerned that my soil mixture is way off base. It seems to drain decently when I water, but the soil does remain damp for longer than I feel it should (I have been using the chop stick test method you suggest.

It's possible that it is variegated. some of the younger shoots were yellow, but I feel that there are more yellow tips than there had been. I'm loathe to repot it, but my gut tells me that may be the correct path. Any suggestions on a good combo for my zone? also, anyone use diatomaceous earth as an alternative to akadama or turface?

joagraha
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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  joagraha on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:32 am

andy, the plant photo you shared looks very similar to mine although my foliage is more scaley. What soil combination are you using on this?

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  Poink88 on Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:40 am

I believe you have a variegated variety (I own one)...not a problem.

Welcome from a fellow Austinite!!! Wink

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  andy mcconnell on Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:23 pm

hi
the tree has foilage like a san hose juniper, scale and sharp growth at the same time
all of my trees are planted in coarse turface only
thanks andy

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  Fore on Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:50 pm

Looks under fertilized to me too. I'd try foliar spray of an organic fertilizer. It'll immediately help the tree since it's not dependent upon the roots for uptake. Just another option.

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  marcus watts on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:01 pm

hi,

Fish emulsion..........probably the best 'impossible to overfeeed' fertiliser there is. It may be variegated but i think not, just poorly fed, not enough direct sunlight and in need of tlc.

well found - be kind to it and dont be in a hurry to wire it, or more will go yellow !

cheers Marcus

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  andy mcconnell on Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:37 pm













hi all, these are my two trees they were very unhealthy when i got them
after a few years of care the foilage became healthier and more yellow showed up on all the branches, to me they look just like yours when i first got them
thanks andy

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  joagraha on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:17 pm

andy, these look quite similar to mine, so I think we can confirm it is variegated. What type of Juniper is this?

In summary, I've taken the many suggestions and feedback and done an emergency repot. I definitely had to much organic soil in my mixture. I picked up some Turface and made an approx. blend of:
- 50% Turface
- 30-35% Expanded Shale
- 15-20% well sifted orchid pine bark (med-large pieces)

It's draining much better and the plant appears to be improving. Thanks all!

joagraha
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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

Post  andy mcconnell on Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:06 am

hi
i found these in a local nursery that sells unusual stuff they were old and overgrown its taken four years to get the branches tighter by pruning and wiring
both have very twisted trunks and branches and warty bark . they were there so long the owners didnt know the name they are sold under
but they will make nice trees .just be careful bending branches they are brittle
thanks andy

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Re: Request for Advice: Pale Yellow Needles on Nursery Juniper - Help please!

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