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Dead Spots in Junipers

Evergreen, coniferous shrubs and trees, juniper adds texture and rich green colour to basis and border plantings, accents, entries and other home landscaping designs. Junipers grow well beneath a wide range of soil and climate conditions, thriving in U.S. Division of Agriculture plant hardiness zones three to 9. Subject to dead spots caused by scale insects or fungal diseases, juniper performs best when allowed to grow naturally, offered lots of room in full sun or light shade and fertilized moderately.
Dead Spots in Junipers

Tip Blight Conditions

Dead spots in junipers can be the outcome of a blight disease. Kabatina tip blight, caused by Kabatina juniperi, impacts junipers in late winter during February and March. Tips of branches very first turn dull green and then progress to yellow or red. By May or June the brown tips fall off the plant. Phomopsis tip blight is caused by Phomopsis juniperovora, which impacts the terminal four to 6 inches of branches during the growth time period from mid-April to September. Foliage impacted by Phomopsis tip blight turns red or brown and then gray. The blight can continue to infect new branches all through the season of growth, and can result in the death of the juniper.

Tip Blight Control

Prevent tip blight disease through choice of resistant varieties and mindful cultural practices. Steer clear of mechanical damage to junipers, which provides openings for fungal spores. Fertilize to keep plants healthy, but do not over-fertilize, which leads to rapid, succulent growth that is a lot more susceptible to disease organisms. Prune lightly to inspire good air circulation, but do not over-prune. Water plants in early morning and remove diseased branch tips during dry climate in early morning. Sanitize pruning clippers with a home disinfectant -- such as a pine oil cleanser or home bleach, making use of one component pine oil or bleach to three components water -- to stay away from spread of fungal spores.


When you prune or shear junipers heavily, excess foliage grows on the exterior, shading out the interior foliage. More than time, with additional pruning, the dead interior foliage is exposed. An over-pruned juniper can't revive, as new growth can not be stimulated on bare branches. Prune only for subtle shaping or to remove diseased or dead wood.

Juniper Scale

Juniper scale (Carulaspis juniperi) insect pests infect junipers in early spring when females lay their eggs. Scale are sucking insects that consider sap from juniper needles. During scale feeding, junipers exude excess sugary sap, called honeydew, which frequently grows sooty mold, causing black spots on juniper branches. Growth of infested branches is stunted and branches turn brown and die. Control with horticultural oil spray used according to manufacturer's instructions.