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A type of evergreen, Slender Hinoki Cypress trees have recently become popular. However, while they can be easy to grow, you may encounter some problems that can make taking care of them more difficult.
Some of the problems that Slender Hinoki Cypress trees often have include turning brown or yellow, attracting insects, difficulty in cultivation, and being prone to specific diseases. These problems are often caused by poor watering practices and nutrient deficiency.
Read on to learn more about these trees’ specific problems and what you can do to help transition them back to full health.
1. The Slender Hinoki Cypress Tree Is Turning Yellow
As an evergreen tree, the Slender Hinoki Cypress should not change color, but many people are experiencing a problem with the needles of this tree turning yellow. Deciduous trees will naturally turn yellow once the weather cools, but you shouldn’t see this in evergreens unless there’s something wrong.
Slender Hinoki Cypress trees are slow-growing in nature. Still, they need a specific blend of nutrients, including nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus as the primary nutrients, and minerals, such as magnesium and calcium.
They’re not heavy feeders, so gardeners often overlook their fertilizer needs, leading to nutrient depletion. A major nutrient of concern is nitrogen, which helps maintain the volume and dark green color of the needles. Its deficiency will result in thin and yellow foliage.
Moreover, these trees prefer acidic soil with pH levels below 6.0 (source). As pH levels rise above 6.0 over time, many soil nutrients, such as iron, become unavailable, resulting in chlorosis or the yellowing of the needles.
See our guide on How To Identify And Manage Alkaline Soil.
However, some varieties of this plant produce yellow or golden foliage, so you should determine whether or not you have this species before assuming that the yellow needles are a problem.
2. The Slender Hinoki Cypress Tree Is Browning
Slender Hinoki Cypress trees can often naturally turn brown, but it can also present a problem for those who want a tree that always stays green.
Usually, if the tree is turning brown and it’s not due to a major issue such as fungal infections or insect damage, it’s known as winter browning, which is still a problem but less so than other issues.
When winter browning occurs, it’s usually because of insufficient water during the winter months. Since mature Slender Hinoki Cypress trees are typically drought-tolerant, gardeners are likely to skip watering them during winter.
However, they can often turn brown or yellow if you don’t give them the right amount of water. That’s why you must mulch the ground around the tree in winter to protect the roots from frost, regulate the soil temperature, and help retain moisture.
3. The Slender Hinoki Cypress Tree Is Sensitive to Diseases
While Slender Hinoki Cypress trees aren’t sensitive to every disease, they are susceptible to specific fungal infections, as they can get deep into the roots.
Fungal diseases can affect every part of the Slender Hinoki Cypress tree. The pathogen attacks the tree randomly, reaching into the branches and needles, and becomes especially serious once it gets to the root system.
Fungal blight is the most common disease that affects this type of Cypress. Usually, the first signs that the tree is infected are yellow spots on new needles, and once the disease progresses, you may see canker-like sores on the stem of the affected branches.
Unfortunately, fungal blight isn’t the only thing the Slender Hinoki Cypress trees are susceptible to, as almost every fungal disease can ravage them.
Root rot can also very easily affect these trees since they are sensitive to how you water them. In general, these trees like moist but not wet soil, and they thrive well in soil with excellent drainage.
In addition, they prefer full sun exposure for at least six hours a day. That’s why they can be challenging to protect from root rot during the rainy season. If the soil remains moist without sufficient sunlight to dry it up, your tree becomes more susceptible to fungal diseases.
Therefore, it’s crucial to grow your Slender Hinoki Cypress tree in rich, well-draining soil that doesn’t collect much rainwater.
4. The Slender Hinoki Cypress Tree Is Difficult To Cultivate
Slender Hinoki Cypress trees can be rather difficult to cultivate, as they’ll often turn brown when they are not in the ideal soil, which has something to do with the soil’s poor drainage capacity and improper irrigation.
It can also be due to how you’ve transplanted the plant, as transplanted Cypress trees are generally more difficult to cultivate than others. Slender Hinoki Cypress trees grown from seed usually do better than transplanted ones as long as you meet their environmental requirements.
Direct sunlight helps improve the transplanted tree’s chances of overcoming transplant shock. While this may seem a little backward since the sun often causes grasses and leaves to turn brown, the Slender Hinoki Cypress trees need adequate sunlight to establish its roots and keep the needles green.
You can also help prevent cultivation issues by ensuring the plant has proper irrigation and that you are not breaking any roots when transplanting.
The best way to avoid damaging the Cypress tree is to dig around the plant carefully, giving it a wide berth when uprooting.
5. The Slender Hinoki Cypress Tree Is Prone to Insect Damage
Slender Hinoki Cypress trees tend to be resistant to most pest insects. However, young trees are prone to insect damage, especially when suffering from stress due to poor watering practices or transplant shock.
Some insects to watch out for include the following:
- Juniper scales
- Spider mites
Once these insects enter the Cypress tree, eating away the leaves, stems, and branches, and even affecting the root system, the tree can become easily susceptible to disease at every level. When some disease affects the plant, you can often see it manifest in the leaves turning brown.
While it can often be due to winter browning, the tree turns brown primarily from insects sucking its nutrients, particularly with insects like the juniper scales. Once the insect takes too much, the Cypress tree will start to die.
You can prevent insect damage to your Slender Hinoki Cypress tree by utilizing other insects and animals, such as birds and ladybird beetles.
You can also spray the plant with commercial insecticides, though this can also cause further damage when you don’t apply it correctly, so ensure you read the product’s information first.