arborvitae- turning brown

Asked October 29, 2016, 5:29 PM EDT

Hello- This past spring I planted a row of Emerald Green arborvitae ( 7-8' ). Some have started to die off toward the bottom and close to the trunk- in other words, turning brown. Others look fine. What am I dealing with and how can I prevent any further damage. I have the same problem with a small arborvitae I put in a planter, although it is more severe. Please help. Thank you for your expertise. You provide an excellent service that I have used before.

Anne Arundel County Maryland

1 Response

There could be several reasons for browning such as drought, too much moisture, poor planting techniques, too much mulch, etc. However, if the browning of the foliage was recent, this could be normal leaf drop. Many evergreens do lose their foliage during the autumn. Usually the color changes and shedding occurs on the inside of the plants and is a normal process.

Make sure the plants are well watered up until the ground freezes, Keep mulch no thicker than several inches and away from the base of the trunk.

Containers - Make sure the container has good drainage. To overwinter outdoors Plants in containers need to be 2 zones hardier than your zone. If the container is small, You may be able to place the container next to your house and cover with pine boughs or shredded leaves for winter protection. Or sink the container in the ground to protect the root zone from the cold temperatures.
You can send us more photos if you notice additional symptoms.