The winter in SW Montana was unseasonably warm and very, very dry. I have many junipers in my yard, all about 10-15 years old. They usually do fine regardless of temps/snowfall, but this winter was an exception. Most all of them have suffered. The outer branches are brown and dry. The interiors are still mostly green. Will they recover? Do I need to prune them back? Extra fertilizer? HELP! I also have a couple of sand cherries that seemed to have suffered the same fate. They are putting on sparse new growth, but most of last year's growth is dead. What should I do and what can I expect?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Winter drying of needles will occur in abnormally warm winters because moisture is continuously lost and cannot be replaced as the plants are dormant. On warm, sunny winter days, radiation from the sun or reflection from snow can increase leaf temperatures to 20C° over air temperatures. The moisture in the stems and branches becomes exhausted because of the increased loss triggered by the warmer temperatures.
For a treatment regimen, I would follow the guidelines for "winter burn treatment" in the following article: