Kabatina Tip Blight of Juniper

by Paige Thrush, Nancy J. Taylor  & Francesca Peduto Hand

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Junipers are generally considered low maintenance plants because they are relatively resistant to many major pests and diseases, although there are some fungal diseases that can cause significant damage to the crop. The fungal pathogen, Kabatina juniperi, is the causal agent of tip blight of juniper and can also cause tip and shoot blights, cankers, and dieback on a wide range of other conifer species. The disease is especially common in nursery plantings where it has been detrimental to young juniper seedlings, grafts, and transplants and, in epidemic years, has caused total loss of first year seedlings. It is also found in landscape plantings of junipers in central and eastern America where it reduces the vigor and aesthetic quality of ornamental trees and shrubs in the landscape. Susceptible species growing in natural stands do not sustain significant damage.

Commonly affected species include the eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopulorum), creeping juniper (J. horizontalis), and savin juniper (J. sabina). Other susceptible hosts include species of false cypress, arborvitae, Japanese cedar, true fir, Douglas fir, and yew.