Why is Hinoki Cypress Tree Turning Brown [5 Causes]

Hinoki cypress trees that come with a botanical name Chamaecyparis obusta, are supposed to be green forever! But if these evergreen trees are turning brown then, unfortunately, you have got a problem there.

Certainly, the brown needles of the ornamental Hinoki Cypress trees in your home garden will represent an unsightly view. Instead, they are supposed to be a treat to your eyes. Thus, you must be seeking the reasons why your Hinoki Cypress tree is turning brown. 

Well, we are here to acknowledge you the main reasons for the browning of your hinoki cypress trees. Initially, it happens when insect pests attack these conifers. Besides, winter brown, fungal problems, diseases, and some other cultural and soil problems also cause hinoki cypress issues.

Wait, are you sure knowing only these reasons is enough? Of course, not! So, let’s dig into each reason and know how to fix them.

Hinoki Cypress Tree Turning Yellow or Brown? [Here is the Complete Solution]

1. Attack of Insect Pests

Generally, hinoki cypress comes in both tall and dwarf types. However, both types are resistant to pests of a wide array.

Yet, occasionally, these false cypress trees suffer from insects and pests.  To mention some insect pests, there are aphids, juniper scales, spider mites, and some other small creatures. Once the aphids affect the plant, they suck all the foliage juice from it.

Consequently, the browning of the hinoki cypress happens. The same goes for the scale insects as well. Both the male and female juniper scales are harmful to the plant. They suck fluids from both the stem and needles of the plant causing it to dry out and brown over time.

Insect scales also emit honeydew. Honeydew is a sticky substance it attracts ants. Moreover, over time, the substance grows black or sooty mold over the needle and stem surface of the plant.

It further harms the hinoki cypress. Moreover, spider mites create webs over the foliage surface causing it to brown. 

How to Cure

Now that your hinoki cypress trees are already affected by these insect pests, let’s get to know how to control them.

  • Employing some natural predators to destroy aphids, scale insects, and other pests is the best solution. Use ladybird beetle, birds, green lacewings, and other predators help to control insect pests biologically.
  • Also, in the case of a severe attack, you can go for commercial horticultural insecticidal oils with low toxicity. [our pick: Monterey LG 6299 Horticultural Oil Concentrate Insecticide]
  • To control aphids or any other insect pests, you can apply homemade remedies as well. Like,

# Spray Garlic Oil

Required Items:

  • Minced garlic cloves of 1.5 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon mineral oil
  • Liquid soap
  • Water


  • First, soak the minced garlic with mineral oil for one day
  • Then mix liquid soap and a pint of water as well with the garlic
  • Keep mixing the solution slowly
  • Then strain the solution and pour into a spray bottle
  • Lastly, apply the solution to the insect pests

Moreover, to control insect pests you can also use the solution with soap, water, and essential oils or neem oils. Rubbing alcohol also helps in this purpose. Apply the solutions in a way that they make direct contact with the pests. 

2. Diseases or Fungal Infections

Diseases are one of the reasons why hinoki cypress trees turn brown and die at the end. In most cases, they fall victim to fungal diseases. However, the most common disease is juniper tip blight. Its causal agents are Phomopsis junipervora and Kabatina juniperi. 

So, basically, two types of blight diseases might occur in hinoki cypress. They are,

  • Phomopsis blight
  • Kabatina blight

Mainly, cool and moist weather is favorable for the pathogen that causes Phomopsis blight. Causing blight to the tip of the needles it also causes stem cankers.

The infection spreads from one stem to another and finally moves to the main stem. And if the hinoki cypress is young with only a half-inch thick stem then killing the plant is just a matter of time.

On the other hand, unlike Phomopsis blight, Kabatina blight is less harmful. They generally develop when the weather is warm. They only attack when the foliage is injured. It also turns the needles of hinoki cypress brown.

Again, the branches of Leyland cypress turn brown because of three types of fungal attacks. These are cercospora, seiridium, and bought. These fungi mostly attack during summer. This time the stomata of the plant enlarge and allow the fungi to enter them.

Moreover, some rotting diseases might take place in your hinoki cypress plants as well. Phytophthora and Rhizoctonia root rots are two of them. Here, roots are initially affected. Later the infection goes on to the upper parts. 

How to Cure

Since fungus is the main reason for these diseases, you have to take steps against fungal growth. How? Let’s show you.

  • Many times, standing water on the needles of hinoki cypress is the reason for fungal growth. So, it is better not to go for overhead irrigation. 
  • Also, try to avoid accidental injury while running cultural operations. Any injury or wound is the main place of fungal growth. 
  • Remove the affected plant part and destroy it or burn it far away from the garden.
  • Prune away the infected areas and burn them.
  • For chemical solutions, you can apply the best fungicide available in the market.(Our Pick: Bonide 811 Copper 4E Fungicide)
  • Homemade recipes might also help. Let’s introduce you to one,

#Soap and Baking Soda Spray

Required Items:

  • Baking soda 1 tablespoon 
  • 4 Liter of warm water
  • Dishwashing soap of 1 teaspoon


  • Take 4L water in a bucket and add baking soda
  • Add dishwashing soap along with it
  • Stir the mixture properly 
  • Finally, spray over the infected places

However, Phomopsis blight disease is mostly controlled by fungicides that contain benomyl in it. It is the active ingredient that works against the pathogen. For your information, fungicides won’t work for Kabatina blight. So, you better work on cultural management or homemade remedies to cure it.

3. Winter Browning

Another reason why your hinoki cypress conifer is turning brown is winter browning. It happens during the winter season when plants suffer from insufficient water. Thus, they dry out eventually and develop browning on the needles. 

How to Cure

Since winter browning causes when there is a lack of water so you have to deal with it.

  • Ensure maximum irrigation in the winter season 
  • Never let your hinoki cypress dry out eventually

Nonetheless, make sure you do not over-water your hinoki cypress. Otherwise, it will encounter the plants.

4. Hinoki Cypress in the Wrong Soil

Soil matters the most when you are growing any ornamental plants. Nothing is exceptional for hinoki cypress. The soil should contain essential nutrients that are required for the healthy growth of this plant.

When hinoki cypress initially turns yellow, it is because the plants are suffering from chlorosis. It occurs when there is a lack of iron nutrients in the soil. 

How to Cure
  • Iron deficiency mainly occurs when soil pH is high. So, acidification of soil is necessary. 
  • Applying iron fertilizer (our pick: Monterey LG7115 Dr. Soil Acidifier Granules Ironmight help with the issue.
  • Also, you can directly apply iron over the hinoki cypress needles.
  • Apply fertilizers to the soil for other nutrient deficiencies. 

5. Problems in Cultivation

Cultivation problems are also some reasons why hinoki cypress trees turn brown. For example, rough intercultural operation, poor drainage system, improper irrigation system, and transplantation of plants. 

Cypress trees will grow in any place except the place that is fully shaded. This slow-growing plant grows better under the full sun. When the foliage does not get direct sunlight, the needles start browning. 

How to Cure

  • Plant your hinoki cypress in a place where the plants get direct sunlight. 
  • Be careful while doing an intercultural operation. You might end up hurting the plant.
  • Make an irrigation channel for proper drainage of water.

Preventive Solution

You must agree with the fact that prevention always costs less than cure does. And optimal care of your favorite blue or green cypress trees can save the needles from turning brown. Let’s get to know some tips regarding their preventive care

  • Always try to cultivate hinoki cypress plants where they get full sunlight during the daytime. Also, make sure they have enough space surrounding them for spreading themselves properly.
  • Again, make sure your garden has sandy loam and well-drained soil to obtain the best performance.
  • Try not to transplant the plant. Hinoki cypress does not thrive when it is transplanted. Rather let it grow in one particular place.
  • Always keep the hinoki cypress plants in healthy shape so that they become more resistant to insect and fungal attacks.
  • Frequently re-evaluate the fertilizer and amount of water you are applying to the garden of hinoki cypress. 
  • Make sure you skillfully handle all intercultural operations including pruning and training. Do not leave any wounds. 
  • Keep all plant debris far away from the hinoki cypress tree garden. Plant debris might carry fungal spores in them. 

So, these are the preventive solutions you can come up with to prevent your hinoki cypress to turn brown. However, for your information, they best thrive in USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) hardiness zones from 5 to 8a. 


How can we save Hinoki Cypress?

You can save your beautiful hinoki cypress only by ensuring its healthy upbringing. Consider the soil, weather, environment, and amount of water they require for thriving and work accordingly. 

Never let the trees dry. Also, protect them against icy winds or hard frost. 

How do you know if a cypress tree is dying?

A cypress tree is on the verge of dying when its needles are first yellow then brown and start to fall off during its prime. If the whole cypress tree is brown throughout the whole year, then the plant is dead already.

Why do cypress trees turn brown?

Unfavorable environmental conditions, soil containing insufficient nutrients, dry weather, and dehydration allow the cypress trees to be chlorotic. As a result, cypress trees turn brown. 

How often do you water a Hinoki Cypress?

A hinoki cypress does not survive long if it is not watered regularly. You have to maintain the soil moisture. Thus, water the plant regularly if rainfall is not enough.

Final Words

Hinoki cypress trees already have resistant properties. Only in extreme conditions, do they start to turn brown. However, this problem is also fixable and you’ve already come to know this through this article.

Whatever chemical fungicide or insecticide you are using, make sure you read out the instructions first. 

Hope our information will give life back to your brown hinoki cypress trees. If they really do, let us know your experience and feedback as well!

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