We have 9 rushmore arborvitae trees planted to form a screen to provide privacy and shade for our dog kennel. We wrapped them in burlap for the winter. We recently took off the burlap and the trees look brown and sad. We need advise to make them look happy again. Thank you for your help, Jean and Mike Rebrovich Lino Lakes, MN
Anoka County Minnesota
Can you resubmit with a photo please?
This may be Arborvitae Winter Burn but a photo would help a great deal.
- My response would add.
This is Arborvitae Winter Burn. Discoloration of evergreen foliage during winter may be caused by:
Winter sun and wind cause excessive foliage water loss while the roots are in frozen soil and unable to replace lost water. Thisdries out the plant. Bright, cold winter days destroy chlorophyll which bleaches the foliage.
Yew, arborvitae, and hemlock are most susceptible, New transplants or plants with succulent, late season growth are particularly sensitive.
In your case, with the new plants raised up and planted close to those large gray edging stones and with a rock ground cover (as in picture in the far right), the young roots would probably be especially susceptible to cold. It is also possible that water is draining away from the roots through the spaces between the edging stones. Cold and dry!
This is a difficult rescue but let me suggest the following.
1. Brown foliage is most likely dead and will not green up. But the buds, which are more cold hardy than leaves, will often grow and fill in areas.
2. In two weeks or so, prune dead branches back to living tissue.
3. Remove the stone ground cover completely and replace it with a water retaining compost https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=16800
4. Fertilize in early spring and water them well throughout the season.
5. Wrap again next winter.