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A recent heat wave left its mark on a number of trees in my garden. On the day the temperatures peaked, brown needles appeared in some junipers Sierra.
Brown needles in Sierra juniper
While brown needles can be scary, it really depends on what the needles turn brown. If the old needles turn brown, it is good to consider, but not necessarily cause for concern.
The new growth is green, old needles are brown
Seeing the contrast in needle color reminded me of some of the bonsai first instructions I’ve heard – “remove the old growth junipers before wiring.” I remember at the time they have difficulty distinguishing the new age growth. As these junipers saw makes it easy to see which is which. When cleaning junipers, these old needles safely can be eliminated if they are green or brown.
Old needles can be safely removed
Another clue that can help distinguish the new old growth is at the tip of foliage. ecological and healthy tips indicate young, active foliage. Foliage with brown, gray or dull green tips oldest outbreaks indicate that we can safely eliminate.
I saw an interesting example of this at a recent workshop Bay Island Bonsai. A member was working on a juniper that had been crushed by the previous owner to the point where it had become quite weak. The new owner left the tree alone, while health recovered and is now going on cleaning. As you can see in the picture below, none of the pinched leaves was growing -. The only healthy shoots emerged from the end of the branch
The new growth emerging from the tip of the branch
This can cause problems if you do not want the branch to be longer, but if you want to maintain compact growth – the typical logic behind pinch – it can be counterproductive. As the old foliage has stopped growing, it is safe to remove it and proceed with the tree style using the healthy foliage at the end of the branch.
This article was originally published on bonsaitonight.com