Damaged juniper

(Question)

I have a question for a tree expert who is a Master Gardener. I have a tall Juniper that’s about 14 years old. Last winter there was a lot of winter burn. Some of it has come back but how can I protect it for this winter so no more damage is done. It hasn’t been trimmed. Can you recommend anyone to do the recommended work?

 

(Answer)

This past winter was very hard on even well-established trees and shrubs, and many Torontonians have reported the inexplicable and sudden death of a previously healthy tree or shrub.  Winter burn was the main culprit. Winter burn typically affects the southern exposed side of Junipers. Literally its like a burn that dries out the foliage.  It can also be the result of brisk cold winds.  It is quite normal for junipers to lose 30% of their needles during fall and winter.

The best way to prevent winter burn is to ensure they are watered as much as possible before the ground is permanently frozen. Mulch around the juniper about 3ins from the trunk to the outer edge of the tree.  Much younger trees can be protected with a frost/wind barrier made of burlap and attached to stakes around the tree. Since your tree is well established and tall this is not possible. Generally Junipers require very little care.  Last winter was exceptional.

Unfortunately, Master Gardeners cannot recommend specific companies or individuals, as we are volunteers with a mandate to educate the public about gardening and horticultural issues.  If you need the services of an arborist look in yellow pages, the local paper etc. and make sure they are certified.   Also check www.landscapeontario.com  or  ISA Ontario to locate a cerified arborist: www.isaontario.com/content/find-certified-arborist