1) How long can an arbor vitae live? Mine is at the corner of my house and...

Asked February 9, 2015, 8:44 AM EST

1) How long can an arbor vitae live? Mine is at the corner of my house and about 65 years old and about 50 feet tall. I thought it might be looking a little stressed lately but maybe it's just winter. I would hate to lose it. 2) What soil mix should I use? I'm planning an elevated garden, completely off the ground, this spring in 3 Earth Boxes. They're plastic boxes with a false bottom for a self watering reservoir. Each is 29 x 11 x 14 and will contain about 2 cubic feet of soil. Thaks, on.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

1. We can't say how long your arborvitae will live. However, you can optimize its health by watering during droughts, using compost or a slow release fertilizer around it (not yearly), and mulch with organic mulch not touching the trunk and no more than 2-3 inches deep. (This will decompose and also feed the tree.) If you see any specific sign of insects or disease, send us a digital photo.

2. Here is the information on container mixes in the Grow It Eat It section of our website: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/food-gardening-101/what-growing-media It's a thorough discussion of container mixes.

We have used 50/50 soilless mix/compost and also 100% soilless mix in Earth boxes with good results. You can also go to the Earth Box website for their info and recommendations. Of course, they recommend their mix.