My Juniper Died, What’s the Problem?

Dwarf Shore Juniper just planted. Notice that at least four are not going to make it.

Dwarf shore juniper were just planted. Notice that at least four are not going to make it.

Walking today, I passed this planting of dwarf shore juniper and knew immediately why they were dying. Upon closer examination my suspicion was right: Too much water. Here is what I think happened. Since this was in a confined space and the construction was new, with all the rain we have had, the space has no way to drain the juniper. So, they are literally sitting in a bathtub-like situation. I bet if I dug down, I would find construction waste and no way for the space to drain. Also, the slope is toward the center of the space, where the junipers have already died. What’s the solution?

  • Dig out the construction waste and the soil deep enough to get good drainage.
  • If that is not possible, dig out the space 12-15 inches deep and put an inch layer of gravel before adding the amended soil.
  • Replant the junipers that are not dying, and make sure you loosen the root system, where the roots will spread into the soil.
  • Plant the junipers a little high (say a 1/2 inch above the original root ball level).
  • Mulch heavily.
  • Water the plants well upon replanting the old ones and planting the new ones.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *