Please Help! Browning needles on juniper

Hotwheelz27

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Hello!! I’m new to this forum as well as being a bonsai mama! So I’m hoping someone on here can help me! I’m having terrible anxiety about my 16yr old juniper bonsai tree, Bodhi. :( I’ve had him for about a year, I live in Florida and my bonsai resides in my screened in lanai under a clear weatherproof roof. The some needles have started to turn brown especially in the back and kind of underneath... I spray him pretty regularly and water about every other day. I use the chopstick method so I thiiiink the watering is good? Started using Miracle Grow all purpose about every 3 weeks. I haven’t repotted him yet either. Also I’m scared to aggressively prune him or the brown spots bc I feel like he won’t grow them back.. He’s been looking very bare recently and the brown spots are really worrying me... I read about summer dormancy but idk if that’s what this is. There’s also these tiny tiny little gray bugs in the soil but only in soil I haven’t really seen any webs. I just bought Ortho 3 in 1 insect more and disease sprays which I’m planning on using. I don’t want to repot right now even though I feel like I need to bc he’s not healthy.... can someone please help me or tell me what’s wrong??! Thank you! :( :) (here’s some current pics)
 

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Hotwheelz27

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Is that sun not strong enough? It’s really sunny, hot and humid here. Is that why the brown spots are in back and underneath??
Thank you for your reply!!
 

bonsaichile

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Is that sun not strong enough? It’s really sunny, hot and humid here. Is that why the brown spots are in back and underneath??
Thank you for your reply!!
you need to put it outside and clean up the foliage as to let sunlight in. That is probably why the needles in the back ans underneath are dying
 

Hotwheelz27

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Okay thank you, i will move him directly outside. He's pretty bare though right... I think the sun gets back there, would it matter if i turn him around backwards? It's been facing mainly W..
 

Hotwheelz27

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Has anyone personally ever used 'Ortho 3in1 insect mite disease' spray on the tree soil?? I so, where? only soil or foliage too? I'm not sure what those micro-bugs are/if theyre harmless but i feel the need to rid them. I'm concerned they are the culprits of his browning :/
 

Hotwheelz27

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Does it look like he’s dying?? Idk what to do... :(
 

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Cable

Omono
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You need to cut off the dead. It's not going to turn green again. This will not only increase airflow and sunlight penetration but will also allow you to track the spread of the problem.

You could try contacting a local bonsai nursery or even regular plant nursery. Many will help with plant issues, sometimes for a fee. Your local agricultural extension office may have a program as well for diagnostics and proscribed treatments.
 

RichS

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Take it outside. Open air. Morning to noonish sun. Since you've already used insecticide there's prob not alot of reason to do the white paper test to check for spider mites. Do as recommended and clean out the dead foliage. Leave branches if they still have some bend as they could still bud eventually(if it lives) junipers can be frustrating (in my experience) when they are doin good they can be pretty hardy. But if they get an issue it can seem like a nightmare to figure out and fix it before it's too late. On top of the fact that they can have an issue and be pretty much gone and you never know it because they will stay green even after the troubles have started. Here in Florida my biggest problems with junipers have been either spider mites or over watering. You have to find that balance. Best of luck
 

Cable

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Right, balance is key. A coworker killed a juniper bonsai and our head grower said it was too much water. I was careful to not give mine too much water and two of them were in decline. I noticed they seemed drier than I wanted so I increased water and they bounced back. You have to find the spot where it is happy.
 

leatherback

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Has anyone personally ever used 'Ortho 3in1 insect mite disease' spray on the tree soil?? I so, where? only soil or foliage too? I'm not sure what those micro-bugs are/if theyre harmless but i feel the need to rid them. I'm concerned they are the culprits of his browning :/
Hardly ever are bugs the problem. Aphids, Thrips and spider mites are the main exceptions. I see no signs of spider mites. Thrips jump. Aphids & scale should be visible but do nto walk on the soil. I say, don't worry about bugs.
 

flor1

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Set outside give it morning sun and mist it a couple of times a day.
 

Hotwheelz27

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Thank you all so much for the knowledge!! Greatly appreciate it :) so I trimmed majority of the dead foliage off and some branches that I knew were dead but left the other branches. I watered him today and don’t see any more bugs crawling around but I’m concerned about the sun... it’s sooo hot here And I’ve kept him in the screened in patio which gets Lots if sun.. do you think I need to repot him?
 

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RichS

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At this point a repot might prove fatal for sure. anytime you have a plant that's stressed or in serious jeopardy messin with the roots often times isnt a good idea. There are situations where that might be the end all be all but I don't believe that's the case here. And It is hot here (I'm like and hour away) but it's about how your placing it in the sun that matters. And how and when your watering. Junipers love sun. But in a situation like this you should prob keep it out of like hottest part of the day sun. Mine get morning to noonish sun. They seem to like that. Like I said junipers are hardy plants. But they get most of there life and energy from their foliage. So when that gets compromised then you gotta really nurture it. That's just been my experience. Best of luck
 

Hotwheelz27

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I’ve been taking him out of afternoon sun when it’s real hot and I’m misting daily. But it looks like he’s continuing to get more brown!! ? The left side is still green and he does have new growth in various places but the brown isn’t getting better or slowing down.. I don’t think? So How exactly should I be watering it and which way to place it in the sun then?? Thank you
 

River's Edge

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I’ve been taking him out of afternoon sun when it’s real hot and I’m misting daily. But it looks like he’s continuing to get more brown!! ? The left side is still green and he does have new growth in various places but the brown isn’t getting better or slowing down.. I don’t think? So How exactly should I be watering it and which way to place it in the sun then?? Thank you
It appears to have moss growing on the trunk and there is considerable browning of the foliage. You mentioned that you are fairly confident in your watering. I would be inclined to check that! How well does the water drain through? How long does the pot take to dry out? Do you know how long the tree has gone without being repotted? Does the pot ever feel lighter or does it stay wet all the time?
 
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