I live in Mimico, base of Etobicoke, really close to the lake, so it’s cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – a micro-climate if you will. I planted a Fairview Juniper about 25 years ago. It is now about 20′ tall. I’ve noticed that as it grew and got to about 10′ tall, the “feathery” look of the foliage suddenly became tight “balls” of foliage. Now the new growth of the top 10′ and end of some branches is back to the expected “feathery” nature of a Fairview Juniper. There are a few holes in the trunk like a wood pecker was at it looking for bugs. Did the tree have some kind of infestation/disease that effected the foliage and caused it to “ball”? If it were to be infected/diseased, and we know what the infection/disease is…is there something that I can use to cure it and would the “balled” foliage return to the “feathery” foliage?
Love to know your thoughts. Thanks.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Juniperus chinensis, commonly called Chinese juniper, is a dioecious evergreen conifer that is native to China, Japan, Mongolia and the Himalayas. It is often seen in the wild as a conical tree to 50’ tall and 20’ wide, Juniper chinensis ‘Fairview’ is suppose to be a more compact variety.
According to the Missouri Botanical Garden: ” Junipers are generally susceptible to tip and needle blights. Cedar-apple rust and related rust diseases spend part of their life cycle on junipers. Root rot may occur, particularly in wet, poorly drained soils. Canker may attack bark or main stems. Occasional insect pests include aphids, bagworms, webworms and scale.”
The fact that woodpeckers were are your tree indicates that there is some type of insect that the birds find appealing.
My suggestion would be to contact a certified arborist and have him assess your tree. To find a certified professional arborist in your area visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s searchable database here
You may find this link form the Morton Arboretum on Chinese Junipers of interest. Also, this is an exellent website which lists Juniper diseases and insects pests along with their prevention and treatment.
Lastely, on our site you will notice that the Toronto Master Gardeners are happy to answer your gardening questions if you live in the City of Toronto. If you live outside of Toronto, please check the Master Gardeners of Ontario website to find your local Master Gardener group in the province.
For your area please contact the Etobicoke Master Gardeners here.