Juniper needles turning yellow and brown

Sections of my needle juniper are turning yellow. Definitely not mites or scale insects. Don’t believe I’m overwatering but it’s a possibility. Could it be a root fungus? Tips are green, inner sections of circled areas are yellow and browning. Bottom right section entirely green.

Contemplating transforming this to a shohin with a chop at the vertical yellow line IF the top left section of the tree cannot be saved.


Given that the yellow is throughout the tree it seems like it might be root related. Perhaps lighten up on the watering and consider removing all of the surface moss that may be interfering with the exchange of water and oxygen. Finally tilting the pot may help to increase the movement of water through the pot. Just a few thoughts. Good luck with it.

Whatever is happening with the foliage is a mirror image of the root system.
Definitely a root related issue.

Winter update: I backed off watering in late summer/early Fall. Juniper needles continued to brown through Fall. Lightly scraped a few branches (left side of tree) prior to placing it in a greenhouse for winter to determine if branches were alive. Layer under the bark was not green.

And yet, the needles on right side remain fully green. I’d like to make the transition posted above by chopping the main trunk and saving the right side of the tree as shown in the illustration below.

My questions:

Do I chop now (in winter) and repot and trim back roots in Spring, or do I chop in spring and repot then, do I chop in Spring and repot later this year or do I chop now and wait a year to repot?

If you are sure the left is dead, I would cut back now leaving it very long (well above your line) as a future jin and repot in the spring. I am finding out the hard way that is better to leave a long stub to make into a jin even if you don’t think you will need it.

Just a thought is your needle juniper in Akadama? They appear not to survive in akadama… Ryan has mentioned it in the past but said he had no explanation of why.

Was not aware of that. The needle juniper is currently potted in a mix of 1/3rd Akadama, 1/3rd Pumice, 1/3rd Lava Rock. When he says no Akadama, does Ryan mean not to pot with 100% Akadama or no Akadama at all? What does he suggest as a better choice?

I could use American Bonsai Tool Company’s Ultramix or Darkmatter mix instead. I use Ultramix with a number of my trees; all do well. Soil tends to dry out quicker than with the Akadama, Pumice, Lava Rock.

No akadama period… I’ll try and remember where I’ve seen it and send the link…”

Right apologies… I’ve got my mind in a knot… I got needle and common junipers muddled…


I believe it is the common juniper which is in 100% akadama.
Is this the juniper you are referring to?

Yeah as I said I got muddled…