Why My Hinoki Cypress Browning? [Reasons With Fixing Guide]

The Hinoki cypress (also known as Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a beautiful and popular ornamental tree known for its unique, soft-textured foliage and attractive form. But it has one fatal problem that most gardeners face and that is browning. Several factors are responsible for the browning of hinoki cypress, they are diseases, sun scorch, overwatering, poor soil quality, and excessive wind exposure.

Although the problem is fatal, the relief is completely curable. By following a few simple fixing guides you can fix your hinoki cypress tree. In this article, I will tell you the details of these simple methods. So keep scrolling to learn more.

Quick Care Guide Of Hinoki Cypress Browning

Diseases A good quality fungicide is recommended. 
Sun scorch Plants should not be exposed to direct sunlight for more than 8-9 hours.
Overwatering Apply water when the soil is dry.
Poor soil qualityUse moist, well-drained, and slightly acidic soil.
Excessive wind exposureA fence should be placed around the tree.

5 Effective Ways to Fix Hinoki Cypress Browning

1. Diseases

Phytophthora root rot is one of the causes of the browning of hinoki cypress trees. This fungal disease is mainly caused by soil-borne pathogens. They attack your plant’s roots and destroy the plant’s ability to absorb water.

If you notice very carefully you can see browning of the foliage, wilting, and dieback of branches-like symptoms. In severe cases, the tree may lose its foliage completely and eventually die.

Rhizosphaera needle cast is another fungal disease that causes the browning of hinoki cypress trees. This disease causes the needles of your plant to turn yellow at first and then brown.

Fixing Guide

Both Phytophthora root rot and Rhizosphaera needle cast can be prevented by proper tree care, including planting in well-drained soil, avoiding over-watering, and reducing stress to the tree through proper pruning and mulching.

For severe cases, you must apply chemical treatment. A good quality fungicide is always effective for root rot and needle cast. Apply it at least for two weeks. Besides, if the affected area of ​​the plant is above the ground, cleaning the area with potassium permanganate solution is also very effective.(Our pick: Monterey LG 6145 70% Neem Oil Ready-To-Spray Insecticide, Miticide, & Fungicide)

But if the infection is not too severe, you can spray a mixture of two spoons of baking soda and one spoon of vinegar in half a liter of water.

2. Sun Scorch

If your hinoki cypress tree is in a location that receives constant sunlight, this could be one of the reasons why your tree is turning brown. Because excess sun heat dries out the needles of your plant and the plant begins to suffer from the inside.

If you look at a tree that is constantly exposed to the sun, you will see the tree has lost its vitality, the color has changed and it is slowly turning brown. If untreated, the needles of the tree die, which has a negative effect on the physical activity of the whole tree.

Fixing Guide

Just as sunlight is important for every plant, there is a normal level of sunlight for plants.  Although the hinoki cypress prefers full sun, the plant should not be exposed to more than eight to nine hours of direct sunlight. It should always be protected from the afternoon sun especially.

If your plant is always exposed to full sun, shift it immediately. Keep the plant in partial shade for a few days. Apply frequent watering. If the plant starts to fix, keep it in full sun for eight to nine hours a day and use shade cloth the rest of the time.

3. OverWatering

Overwatering can also cause your hinoki cypress tree to turn brown. The excess water you apply to the plant cannot be absorbed by the plant. As a result, waterlogging occurs. If water accumulates at the base of the plant for a long time, the roots cannot absorb oxygen and other nutrients from the soil.

Prolonged waterlogging disrupts the biochemical functions of plants. The process of photosynthesis stops in plants due to a lack of necessary oxygen. Chlorophyll is lost and the color of the plant starts to change, the plant turns brown.

Fixing Guide

Newly planted hinoki cypress must be watered twice a week for up to a year. Then when the tree matures, the water requirements vary. Water should be applied only when the soil is dry. In that case, the soil should be tested with a moisture meter.(Our Pick: XLUX Soil Moisture Meter)

Do not overwater the plant. If you are confused about the amount of water to apply, you can use a self-watering machine. Better not to use normal tap water. A water filter can provide safe water for your plants.

4. Poor Soil Quality

If your hinoki cypress is planted in low-quality soil such as low water holding capacity, high pH range, and low nutrient content in the soil then your tree will face many problems and ultimately they will act as a catalyst to turn your tree brown.

Fixing Guide

Soil selection is important before planting hinoki cypress. Cypress trees generally prefer well-drained, moist, and slightly acidic soil. Adding large amounts of organic material to the soil increases the soil’s water holding and drainage capacity.

Also, you must choose a well-draining location to plant the tree. If it is already planted then make holes around the plant for drainage. You can add elemental sulfur or sulfuric acid separately to increase the acidic character of the soil.

5. Excessive Wind Exposure

If your cypress tree is left in a place where it gets too much air, it will easily become damp and dehydrated.

Also, if your tree is heavily leafed and exposed to continuous cold air, its branches are easily damaged. As a result, those brunches turn brown after a few days.

Fixing Guide

Generally hinoki cypress trees perform well in the Hardiness Zone 4 and can perform well in temperatures of 9-10 °F. So maintaining the temperature is very important.

Also, you can arrange a shade or thin cover fence around the plant to protect the plant from the excess wind. If the tree is excessively leafy, you can give it a light pruning every early summer.

watch the video below to properly prune the tree

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How often do you water a Hinoki cypress?

Mature hinoki cypress trees should be watered only when the soil is dry. But care should be taken not to apply excess water. Newly planted plants need water twice a week.

What fertilizer for Hinoki cypress?

Hinoki cypress usually grows naturally without any fertilizer. But you can change the potting soil every year to feed the plant more nutrients. Besides, adding organic compost to the soil also gives good results.

Can hinoki cypress grow in the shade?

Hinoki cypress trees prefer full sun. However, it is not right to keep the plant in direct sunlight for more than eight to nine hours. Besides, the afternoon sun is also harmful to plants. So shade should be given to the tree to protect it from excessive sun heat and wind.

Final Thoughts

Factors like disease, overwatering, sun scorch and excess wind can damage your hinoki cypress tree very quickly and act as factors in hinoki cypress browning.

But the good news is you can prevent these factors in advance by taking regular care such as timely watering, choosing the right soil, fencing the tree, keeping the surroundings clean, etc. However, if the tree is affected by the problem, then action should be taken as soon as possible. Because the sooner you take steps, the less likely your tree will be damaged.

Hope my article helps you fix your brown hinoki cypress tree. Happy Gardening.

James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg
James Rivenburg

James Rivenburg is the founder of plantandpest.com, a passionate gardener with valuable experience and knowledge gained through trial and error. The website has a large community of followers who trust his tips and techniques and have succeeded with his advice. He is always Committed to helping others create a beautiful and healthy garden.

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