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My Cryptomeria Is Turning Brown

Cyptomeria (Cryptomeria japonica) belongs to the cypress family and has a mature height of about 100 feet. The blue to bright green foliage is evergreen and assumes brown shades during very cold weather. A fungus causes cryptomeria to turn brown.


Blight, also referred to as cryptomeria blight, is a pathogenic disorder of cryptomeria tree. The fungal disease is caused by Pestalotiopsis funerea.


Infected trees initially turn yellow and then start to brown. The discoloration starts at the tip of the foliage and then moves inward. Blight most affects the lower and older foliage of the tree. The fungus is more prevalent in trees that are growing poorly and are already under stress.


Plant trees in areas of good air circulation and sunlight. Avoid keeping foliage wet for extended periods. Chemical control options include the use of blight fungicides including thiophanate methyl and mancozeb.

Care For Cryptomeria

Also known as Japanese cedar, cryptomeria is a slow-growing evergreen tree that is drought tolerant. Cryptomeria will reach heights of 50 feet with a 25-foot spread at maturity. Use a soaker hose to deliver deep watering. Keep the soil moist to a 1-inch depth at all times during the first growing season. Supplemental watering in lieu of rain is usually all that is necessary once the tree is established. Follow the label instructions on the fertilizer packaging for allocation amounts and frequency. Prune the cryptomeria in the early summer. Pruning will help the cryptomeria keep its pyramid-like shape and also encourage new growth. Treat leaf blight with a fungicide. Provide the cryptomeria tree with plenty of air circulation to prevent disease. Pulling weeds that grow under the canopy of the Japanese cedar will help improve airflow. Mulching also improves water retention.

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