Skyrocket Junipers browning

foolforoldhousesJune 18, 2014

Last year I planted several skyrocket junipers. 4 were burlaped and 5 were smaller potted trees. We had a dry summer/fall and a really hard winter so I'm wondering if the browning is just a result of a lot of cold and almost daily snowfall. What I want to know is if this is permanent or if they will green up? A very large percentage of evergreen trees and especially shrubs were completely brown at the being of spring in this area...but most have returned to their green beauty. So...enough rambling: questions...1) What could be causing this? 2) Will it recover or should I dig them up and take them back to the nursery? 3) Should I prune out the brown areas? Thanks so much in advance for any help. I really appreciate it!!

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Skyrocket junipers don't thrive at all in Humid Climates. That's your problem, alone. They will never do well. Additionally, areas with heavy rainfall but w/o humidity will have fungal diseases as well.

Stay away from all scopulorum junipers.

If you want to grow a juniper in the midwest, these species do well:
J. virginiana
J. chinensis
J. sabiniana
J. x media

The best option for you for the same look is: Juniperus virginiana 'Taylor' or "Blue Arrow juniper" which is often labeled as a chinensis but actually is a species-virginiana.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 12:01PM
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foolforoldhouses

Dax,
Thanks for your input. Any idea what will happen if I leave them? This is a major undertaking (to remove/replace) both physically and financially. I'm disappointed no one at the nursery gave me the valuable insight that you did before I bought and planted them all:( Thanks again for your help with this!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 1:42PM
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nurseryman33(4/5)

If you do replace them, avoid Blue Arrow in Wisconsin or you will have more of the same - lots of dead branches as they get older. Taylor looks nice but is more columnar and seems to be more susceptible to cedar apple rust. I like J. chinensis 'Mountbatten' for this area.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:13PM
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foolforoldhouses

Thanks nurseryman33. I didn't mention this earlier, but the back of the tree (faces north) doesn't have any of the dead looking branches. Wouldn't that imply that it was winter burn? I would really like to know what caused this so I can have some ammo when I go back to the nursery that sold them to me...
Thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 7:39PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

It's phomopsis tip blight which does not occur on Juniperus virginiana in humid areas but does with all Juniperus scopulorum, and, it will never subside. Your plantings are so young that the north sides haven't become susceptible, yet. Read the link I'm going to post for a much more thorough understanding of what's yet to come. It's the first hit on Google, btw.

Nurseryman: I hadn't heard that 'Blue Arrow' is also a blight prone juniper. Is this personal experience from a plant or a few plants or have you seen widespread disease from many landscape examples?

I agree cedar apple rust is a possibility with (any) Juniperus virginaina, but, I don't wish to push this person away, either, for something that may not happen & is not all that worrisome

Best regards-

Dax

Here is a link that might be useful: Phomopsis tip blight

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 9:14AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if you get to this point .... i would not replace with juniper.. of any kind ...

and i would go cheaper and smaller ... a smaller transplant.. will get re-established faster.. and usually outgrow a larger transplant ...

the issue.. is instant gratification ... and in that equation.. its your vision.. versus what is better for the plant ... if i am making any sense ... [which is sometimes questionable] ....

good luck

ken

ps: and do keep in mind... you could replace them in stages.. removing the worst of the bunch.. and replacing with something else ....

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 11:25AM
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foolforoldhouses

Any ideas for something that isn't a juniper for replacement? I have a very narrow area I am working with and I want good privacy...there is a pool inside the fence...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 6:47PM
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nurseryman33(4/5)

gardener365 - Where I work we grow Ames, Iowa, Blue Arrow, Mountbatten, Taylor, and Star Power. Over the years I have observed that the Taylors are the most susceptible to cedar apple rust but I still like them overall. The Blue Arrows start the dieback when they are about 4' tall and they go downhill from there. Not on every plant but on a significant number of them.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 9:11PM
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foolforoldhouses

What do you guys think about using a series of small viburnum like Blue Muffin?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:01AM
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foolforoldhouses

What do you guys think about using a series of small viburnum like Blue Muffin?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 11:09AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you are concerned about width those may not be narrow enough. Don't know if anybody mentioned it but the junipers would have quite overwhelmed that planting strip over time if successful. What looks in proportion generally is shrubs about 2 1/2 times the height of how wide a bed is in the part where they are planted. If you can't make your bed wider, so that taller shrubs look in scale (and not overbearing) maybe you should instead plant vines on the fence, keep those pruned and trained to make it a sort of living mural - as tall as you want but no taller, not coming out into the living space very much at all.

Commonly sold climbing plants are also often fast-growing, so that you can start getting

screening developed much more quickly than with small-growing shrubs, which are often seen in small sizes because they develop slowly.

This post was edited by bboy on Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 16:17

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 4:14PM
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foolforoldhouses

bboy, I like your idea with the vines. What else could I plant in front of them? Grasses? smaller hedge like boxwood? Large hostas?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 7:11PM
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foolforoldhouses

bboy, I like your idea with the vines. What else could I plant in front of them? Grasses? smaller hedge like boxwood? Large hostas?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'd choose the climbing plants first and then find out which foreground planting I thought looked good with the particular vines I was using.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 12:05AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

oldhouses:

I'd stay with clematis. The best bloomers are the viticella's. Others don't even compete with their bloom time. Put a 12" tall cage around their base until they really get going because rabbits will keep chewing them down.

'Sweet Autumn' Clematis is a fall bloomer and grows lightning fast. You can easily space this cultivar for full fence coverage every 15-20' apart.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:46AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

nurseryman: thank you for the knowledge.

Dax

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 7:49AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Evergreen all the way for that location...

Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire', done.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 3:29PM
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foolforoldhouses

Dax, do you think I will be ok being in zone 3 with the Sweet Autumn...looks awesome!!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2014 at 11:43PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

FYI a screening of Clematis would look disastrous in the winter and would require way too much upkeep on your part. Maybe consider intermixing a few if you want to go more informal.

Check out songsparrow.com for more hardy Clematis selections. They are running a buy 2 get 1 free right now.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:02AM
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Parkridge77

HI All
For a Manhattan large roofgarden-we have large pots & wanted skyrocket junipers for their color & column shape.
We get plenty of sun. Blue arrow is another candidate. But now I am reading about all the browning & dieback problems with these. This is a co-op & we don't have the budget to keep replacing these. We need 8 total.
We like the blue color and the tall narrow shape.
Any specific juniper recommendations for the NYC area?
OR should we stay away from junpier altogether? TY so much- very infomrative community !

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 1:57PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

About I think the best you're going to get is:
Cedrus atlantica 'Fastigiata'

I've racked my brain in the past over blue, narrow Junipers and w/o a doubt there's the skyrockets and then 'Blue Arrow' which is a Juniperus virginiana. I suppose you may have interest in Juniperus communis 'Compressa', but that's about all I can think of among junipers.

Dax

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:20PM
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thetman

Never had a skyrocket that didn't eventually brown up and just look worse and worse as each year passed. Learned the hard way like a lot of us do-and eventually got rid of the dozen or so I had. Took down some 10-12ft. specimens this spring. I am in MA. At the same time I planted some blue-point junipers and so far they all are still looking good- so there may be hope?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:59PM
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