Emerald Green Arborvitae Help

Asked June 20, 2019, 8:12 PM EDT

There is something wrong with my arborvitae; the one in the middle. It has an odd color, its browning at the bottom and the branches and foliage seem to be drooping. Do you think its dying? If so, can it be saved? I watered it yesterday hoping that it would help. I also checked for bagworms and I don't see any. Please advise! Meanwhile, I am trying to see what I can find online.

Baltimore County Maryland arborvitae decline tree root issues

1 Response

The arborvitae does not look good. It looks like a root issue but we cannot say for sure what is causing the decline. There may be several factors that can contribute to this and it takes a while to show up. Some reasons for include planting too deeply; poor drainage; were the roots teased apart so they could grow into the native soil; if the plant was balled and burlapped was the burlap removed or if natural burlap should be removed down to the soil line where it decomposes, etc.
See our publication on these types of problems. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/TreesandShrubs...

At this point, all you can do is make sure mulch is no thicker than several inches and keep away from the base of the trunk. Do not overwater. Most likely the tree will continue to decline and you will have to consider replacement.
See our website on the planting process https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/planting-process

Marian