bpatterson
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Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:13 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Juniper Needles turning brown on the inside only

Thanks in advance for your time in answering my question, I appreciate it. This bonsai is probably two years old, and I've had it a month. I've been pinching for shape, but I've not fertilized yet and I know I should be. The needles on the inside of the plant are turning brown. Not all of them, but I can see the pattern. I was thinking I might be over watering. I'm in GA where it is very hot and the tree lives outside and gets plenty of sunlight outside around a pool deck on a spread of thyme. I wanted to get some advice before too much damage has occurred. Thanks again. :(
[img]https://i780.photobucket.com/albums/yy89/robertwpatterson/P1000195.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i780.photobucket.com/albums/yy89/robertwpatterson/P1000197.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i780.photobucket.com/albums/yy89/robertwpatterson/P1000198.jpg[/img]

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

bpatterson,

Hi, glad you found us. Overall I see that your Juniper looks to be in good condition. I can't see the soil so I am wondering about its composition. Would you describe it as loose and gritty or dense and peaty? Does it, by any chance, have a layer of glued on pebbles? How do you decide when to water and how do you water?

If you have a small pair of pointed shears you can go ahead and remove any small shoots that have turned brown. Brown tips can be pinched back, not cut. And don't forget that as the branches age the 'deeper' wood will lignify or turn woody, this may be nothing more than that natural process.

Norm

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IndorBonsai
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Location: Seattle area WA

To me this looks normal, you have a nice full and dense canopy of foliage on the top of your juniper. This lets less light through to the lower and inner branches.

On your tree it looks like how Norm/Gnome was explaining that the lower/inner branches are loosing their needles and turning into woody, bark covered type branches.

If the tips of the foliage was turning brown then something would defiantly be wrong.

Information about your soil type and maybe a picture could be helpful in making sure we give you the best advice we can.

Here is a link just in case you need help with watering your tree.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479

It looks like you have been giving your tree good care :)
Welcome to the forum 8)
If your going to have art in your house why not make it living art. :D

Jason

bpatterson
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Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:13 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

juniper Needles turning brown on the inside only

Norm and Jason,
Thanks so much for the reply. I'm relieved that I haven't wounded the little tree. I'm watering everyday, in the evening and just read about soaking. I would describe the soil as dense and no glued on pebbles. I don't let the soil get dry, although I did have one scare when I was out of town over a weekend and she didn't get watered like she should. So I was concerned that perhaps the browning of the needles was over watering. And, if I'm getting it, it's ok to remove the browned branches.
I haven't added soil or fertilizer yet, so I guess that is next. Guys, I really appreciate the help. I'll read myself around the site, and if you have any further advice on this little tree, I'm sure she would appreciate the best care she can get.
If I see browned tips, then I'm underwatering or she's getting too much sun? Is that right? Thanks again. Bob

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Bob,
I'm watering everyday, in the evening and just read about soaking.
Please read [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1479]this[/url] for tips on watering. You should not water on a schedule.
I would describe the soil as dense and no glued on pebbles. I don't let the soil get dry,
Good that there is no glued on top dressing but it is, as I suspected, in the typical peat based potting soil that retail bonsai are notorious for. Search the forum with the terms dying Juniper (or just Juniper for more hits) and you will see how many people have trouble with these. I don't feel that it is because Junipers are that difficult, instead it is because retailers are selling poor material in a poor medium. With this type of medium you are going to have to especially careful about over-watering or, more accurately, watering too frequently.

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So I was concerned that perhaps the browning of the needles was over watering.
Perhaps that is playing a role in it as well as being rather crowded as Jason noted.
If I see browned tips, then I'm underwatering or she's getting too much sun? Is that right?
I don't think I would draw either one of those conclusions. Junipers like full sun but dislike constantly damp roots. Read the thread I linked to above and give the chopstick/skewer method a try.

Norm

bpatterson
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Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:13 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

juniper Needles turning brown on the inside only

Jason and Norm,
Thanks again for the prompt response. I tried the toothpick and got soil and it makes so much sense to water based on need, not schedule. Duh!? So I'll do some more reading, really appreciate the links and help. I'll read about soil next.
Bob



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