Why Are My Juniper Trees Dying?


Junipers include a number of species such as Rocky Mountain Juniper, eastern red cedar, common juniper and Savin, among others. These trees and shrubs generally are hardy, but they are susceptible to a number of different stresses and diseases.

Diseases and Stresses

  • Junipers are commonly injured by under- or over-watering. In addition, they are prone to Cercospora needle blight, Phomopsis and Kabatina tip blights, and canker diseases, among others.


  • Over-watering and under-watering results in dry yellow or brown needles that fall to the ground. Cercospora needle blight is characterized by needle browning, needle drop and a buildup of fungal spores on dead needles. Phomopsis tip blight and Kabatina tip blight cause identical symptoms: new foliage turns dull brown, and then ashy-gray and spore-filled lesions form on branch tips. Diseases such as Botryosphaeria canker create elongated sunken areas on the stems and upper trunk, killing the upper portion of trees.


  • Plant junipers in well-drained locations. Water the plants as needed to maintain vigor and health. Prevent Cercospora needle blight, Phomopsis and Kabatina twig blights by spraying with an appropriate fungicide before infection occurs. Remove cankers from infected trees during late spring or winter, and avoid pruning or shearing during the early summer months when spores are most active.

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  • Photo Credit Utah Juniper image by Carol Hyman from Fotolia.com
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