Juniper Winter Dormancy or other problem?

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Hi all - I wanted to ask if the tips you see on my large Shimpaku are from it being in winter dormancy or if I have another problem? I know the tree is in need of a repot really bad so wondering if this is causing the tips to turn? I only notice it on the right side of the tree. I have other shimpaku that turned more of a purple color. This concerns me because it seems to only be affecting the tips.

I do plan on repotting the tree in the next couple weeks once I’m settled into my new home in Southern California, but would there be any benefit of doing it now? Currently I am in Denver, CO for the next week…
 

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Wires_Guy_wires

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This is not a winter color.
Probably something at the roots that's causing tip dieback.
 
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This is not a winter color.
Probably something at the roots that's causing tip dieback.
That's what I was afraid of. In terms of attempting a rescue, or at least exploration, is now a bad time to start digging into the roots? I can offer it protection for a week in Denver until I move to California, but if waiting a week or 2 isn't going to make much a difference I can just as easily wait.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I think a week or two isn't going to change a whole lot. Junipers are slow to show damage and slow to recover. If the issue isn't expanding to other branches, I think the worst part is in the past.
Moving a tree that kind of distance will shake up the roots, so repotting and digging around now seems counterproductive. Best to do that in one go after the move.
 
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I think a week or two isn't going to change a whole lot. Junipers are slow to show damage and slow to recover. If the issue isn't expanding to other branches, I think the worst part is in the past.
Moving a tree that kind of distance will shake up the roots, so repotting and digging around now seems counterproductive. Best to do that in one go after the move.
Thank you again for your response. My friend @Colorado and I were just texting and he mentioned the same about disturbing the root tips on transit. Another question, given what looks like some sort of an issue with the roots, would the repotting in a couple weeks be a bad time to down pot it a touch and prune the roots down to fit in a smaller container at the future repot? Or should going to a smaller container wait until the health rebounds some?
 

penumbra

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I have noticed that it is slow to get good penetration of water through the pot so thinking this is going to be where to start.
Looks like you have figured it out.
 

Shibui

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I have noticed that it is slow to get good penetration of water through the pot so thinking this is going to be where to start.
This sounds like root bound condition. When there are too many roots there's no room left for water and the trees suffer no matter how well and how often we water. This couild be why you have noticed water slow to penetrate. I've found that soaking the pot occasionally helps get water right into the roots. Cold weather can dehydrate pots as quick as hot weather so watering is still important. Damage on one side of a tree often indicates sun burn which is also associated with dry.

If the soil always appears damp it may be the soil has deteriorated so water does not drain out well. Signs of root rot in a tree due to over water are almost identical to dry.

The tree will certainly survive another couple of weeks so delay repot until after transport. Mowing probably won't damage recently cut roots but the tree is likely to fall out of the pot or lose some soil in transit. Much better to wait.

Another question, given what looks like some sort of an issue with the roots, would the repotting in a couple weeks be a bad time to down pot it a touch and prune the roots down to fit in a smaller container at the future repot? Or should going to a smaller container wait until the health rebounds some?
This depends how much you intend to remove to get into the smaller pot. Junipers usually tolerate up to 1/2 root removal. Given that it may not be in great health 1/3 root removal would probably be OK. Whatever the problem under the soil repotting is the answer to improve conditions and replace old soil with better mix. Hopefully it will be more clear when you get it out of the pot.
 
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This sounds like root bound condition. When there are too many roots there's no room left for water and the trees suffer no matter how well and how often we water. This couild be why you have noticed water slow to penetrate. I've found that soaking the pot occasionally helps get water right into the roots. Cold weather can dehydrate pots as quick as hot weather so watering is still important. Damage on one side of a tree often indicates sun burn which is also associated with dry.

If the soil always appears damp it may be the soil has deteriorated so water does not drain out well. Signs of root rot in a tree due to over water are almost identical to dry.

The tree will certainly survive another couple of weeks so delay repot until after transport. Mowing probably won't damage recently cut roots but the tree is likely to fall out of the pot or lose some soil in transit. Much better to wait.


This depends how much you intend to remove to get into the smaller pot. Junipers usually tolerate up to 1/2 root removal. Given that it may not be in great health 1/3 root removal would probably be OK. Whatever the problem under the soil repotting is the answer to improve conditions and replace old soil with better mix. Hopefully it will be more clear when you get it out of the pot.
Really appreciate the thoughtful response on both topics. I’m glad you mentioned sun too, that was something else that I should have mentioned earlier but had forgotten. These spots did show up where the tree has gotten the most sun but have grown after turning the brown parts away from most sun
 

penumbra

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I don't think I have any of this figured out, but seems like a good idea to take a peak under the hood pretty soon. Hopefully no irreversible damage.
I have noticed that it is slow to get good penetration of water through the pot so thinking this is going to be where to start.
 

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