Browning Junipers! Unsure of what to do

Hello all!,

Thank you for taking the time to read this topic! It was suggested for me to move the topic from Beginners forum to the Horticulture one.

My mind is currently racing as to what to do now, and am worried I may overreact since I am new to the bonsai world. I’ve learned doing too much can be just as bad as doing too little.

I’m not sure what is happening to the trees below. Is this a fungal issue? Dried out due to lack of water? Other type of infestation? Chemical Burned? Need help! I’ve included photos and some info of what the tree has been through recently. First 3 photos relate to tree 1 and the last 2 photos related to tree 2.

Over the past week or so the 2 junipers my father had gifted me have started to turn brown almost overnight. They were green and fine last Tuesday, and about last Wednesday - Thursday started to get this color. The affected areas have stayed about the same, and hasn’t progressed from what I can tell, and if it has not enough that I noticed. (I started to take photos daily to try and see any changes) Tree #2 started to brown in certain areas starting yesterday.

I live in Southern California and we have had a period of high heat over the past week (80 - 90 degree F weather). Both trees get full direct afternoon sun for about 4-5 hours during winter, more during the summer. Although I watered a little more than I normally would since the soil looked more on the drier side. I did wet the foliage on both trees during this time as well. (I realize that may have been a mistake! :frowning:)

In October 2020 I repotted them into new bonsai soil since the soil before was compacted, no root pruning was done.

About a month and a half ago I was using a homemade spray (water dish soap alcohol) to treat what I believed to be a scale infection.

That’s all thats really happened since I received this in late August. If there is anymore information I can provide please let me know! Thank you all for any help you can provide!!

Hi @DarkChoco,
I wouldn’t like to try to diagnose your issue, but the spry would be high on the list. All you can do now is maintain balance of water and oxygen until new growth kicks in. Junipers need sun, but if the tree is weak, you probably don’t want to stress it further with big temperature fluctuations.
When did you wire it? That could be another part of the puzzle.

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Hi @AndyK !

Thank you for your reply!

My father had gifted these to me since I told him I was getting started with the hobby so the wire was already on them. It’s been awhile since theyve been on but Im not exactly sure.

As to the dryness, would you recommend moving to a shady area for a few days? Would misting help at all?

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Maybe shade if you are getting excessive heat. It’s the temperature fluctuations you want to watch out for. Misting may help for the same reason, so will placing the tree on the ground. Water only when the tree needs it; if you’re not sure, keep a wooden chop stick pushed into the pot, then pull it out to see if it’s wet.
Good luck. We have all killed trees.

Hi @DarkChoco. did you experience high temperatures after you repotted? it could be you scorched the foliage as it hadn’t re - established itself. I don’t think the scale is to blame. It may have been the soap / alcohol spray has caused this as it can turn foliage brown. I think the best think for now is to give it dappled sun in the morning only and full shade in the afternoon when it gets hot. It would also be worth you putting it on the forum Q & A for Ryan to assess it.

I’ll give those a try, once again thank you for your replies and suggestions. Overwhelming trying to absorb all the knowledge thats available here.

Hi @Keith-in-UK!

During that time in October temperatures were around day time 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit night time around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a period of high dry wind for one week, but the tree was moved into an outdoor shelf that stopped the wind exposure. I did watch the soil dryness and misted during that time.

Would you recommend removing the brown affected areas?

I will take your advice and give it a shot. Thank you for your reply and suggestions!

I’ll try to get it onto one of the upcoming forum Q&A. But my father was having some issues in his garden as well that he cant figure out and wanted to post his problems this coming week.

Hi Andrew, it is a case of watching and waiting I’m afraid. Let it have dappled morning sun but shade in the afternoon. Watch the watering carefully as that it in itself will make matters worse if you overwater it. No more soap / alcohol sprays as we don’t know if that was a contributory factor. No misting for the foreseeable future. When you repotted were the roots compacted? Did you scrape out the roots so they could spread into the new soil?