Evergreen trees dead below 4.5 ft

Asked June 19, 2019, 7:00 AM EDT

Hi. We just moved to the area and have noticed something unusual. All of the trees of this type(see photos) are dead below about 4.5 or 5 feet. It is the same height all over town whether the plant is in a shady area or open. Deer would seem an obvious answer, but I would think one would see more variation in height as well as not seeing the even cutoff. I have not seen other kinds of trees with this sort of damage, just this one. Forgive me, I don't know the species. Any ideas?

Kandiyohi County Minnesota pruning tree

10 Responses

Deer would leave stubby ragged branches. Branches being shaded out is more likely.

I may be wrong, but all the trees in the area are dead below the same level regardless of if the location is sunny or shaded so that seem to make sense...any ideas?

It is pretty common die off, I see it a lot where I live. Once needles are killed they do not come back. They can be shaded out or die from winter damage or not enough water at some point. Trees need to be watered until the ground freezes. Some falls have been very dry.

Ok, thanks! Anything we can do about the ones in our yard? You said they won't grow back, so should we just cut them down and start over?

I would try some fertilizer, pruning and water and if the look is not what you want replace them in the fall. It might take more than one season for them to come back. If there is enough progress you might give them another year. https://www.pennlive.com/gardening/2011/07/sparse_arborvitae.html

Ok, thanks.

Another expert is sure it is deer damage. If you replace them be sure to put a deer fence around them. If it isn’t deer damage you will be able to rule that out. If it is, deer will destroy young trees.

Ok, thanks much!