View Messages

Return to Trees & Shrubs

Arborvitae turning brown

[Post a Follow Up] [Post to this category]
From: Edward Schar
City:
Buffalo Grove, IL
About 4 weeks ago I planted 25 emerald green arborvitae. They are about 4 ft. tall and did fine for the first week. Now all of them are turning brown, starting from the bottom and moving towards the top. Some have small brown areas near the top. At the bottom, the brown sections are very dry and if I brush them, they fall off. Actually, green turns to brown and then the brown gets much lighter. We haven't had much rain and I water them about twice a week - not a lot, just a moderate amount. I'm afraid of over-watering them but certainly don't want to under-water them either. Any suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.

 
Extension Message
From: Greg Stack
Extension Horticulturist
Office of Web Development
gstack@illinois.edu
Hi,

If the plants are turning brown only on the inside and the outside is green that is normal. If the entire plant is turning brown from outside in and top to bottom that suggests a transplanting problem due to poor watering or handling. I suspect watering. Watering newly transplanted plants needs to be done so the entire root ball gets moist. yo may not have gotten the root ball moist only the soil around it. Check to see by digging in and around the plant that the original root ball and soil are moist. If not place the hose by the plant and allow it to run slowly so the entire soil ball is moist and then move on. Water only when needed by digging a little around the plants and see how the soil moisture below grade is doing. The condition you describe suggests a moisture/transplant problem. If the plants are brown or a dull green I would not hold much hope for recovery as damage has been done to the roots and plants often don't recover.

 
From: russ hamill
City:
fanwood, NJ
We have 5 trees along our front yard. They have been there for many years and always have done well. They are 15 TO 18 feet tall. This year I noticed one in the middle is turning brown. The others are doing well. I dont see any bugs and the all get the same water from rain fall.

What do you think is wrong?

 
Extension Message
From: Greg Stack
Extension Horticulturist
Office of Web Development
gstack@illinois.edu
Hi,

it is hard to say for sure what might be the problem as any number of things can result in evergreens turning brown. Things to check. If only turning brown on the inside and the outside is fine and growing well it may be normal interior needle decline and really means nothing and the tree will do fine. You may also want to check the trunk at soil line and make sure it has not been injured or damage by potential girdling by rodents. If that is the case there may be no saving it. You may also want to do a little digging in and around the root ball to see what is goind on below grade in regards to root growth, drainage etc. That is about all I can come up with without actually seeing the plant.

 
From: Adam G
City:
Alexandria, VA
Is it possible to save a Green Arborvitae when it has turned almost completely brown as of 06 SEP? 3 of my 6 Arborvitae's are almost completely brown, this is after being planted about 4 months ago.

Thanks -Adam

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
This situation does not sound too hopeful. If the twigs, branches remain pliable and green just under the bark, then there is still life in the evergreen. Any other color than a moist looking green is telling you the tree is failing or already dead. Examine the branches and back into the trunks looking for good color. If these plants carry a warranty, inform the retailer now so that they can be examined. Transplant recovery is very hard on plants and especially evergreens. There are many factors that impact how well a plant recovers such as site, soil, water holding capacity, sunlight, etc.

 
From: Andrew Berley
City:
Genoa, IL
Can you fertilize Arborvitae in the fall or only in the spring and what do you recommend for a good feed for the arborvitae

 
Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
hentsche@illinois.edu
Yes, a fall fertilization can be done, late enough that it will not cause any growth yet this season. You should also water well late in the season as well. Spring fertilizer can be applied once growth resumes in 2015

 
[Post a Follow Up] [Post to this category]
 
Return to Hort Corner.
Search current board