Struggling Arborvitae

Asked August 22, 2020, 3:52 PM EDT

We planted a couple small Arborvitae shrubs in front of our house in May of 2019. The front of our house faces southeast and gets a lot of sun. One of the bushes seems to be thriving and one struggling. It is a lighter green and has a lot of budding. They are both planted in mulch without landscaping fabric underneath. We haven't sprayed anything on it around them either. I did not cover them this winter. I am hoping to get some help or information before it's too late.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

I'm not seeing the significant difference between the plants that you see. The one on the left has more cones on it (which are yellow). Yellowing of the foliage could be caused by a nutrient deficiency, specifically nitrogen. But since it is planted next to the other one, I doubt that is the problem. However, I would recommend a fertilizer application next spring (but not now).

Another possibility is an insect (mites or scale). If it is scale, you should be seeing the excrement, called honeydew. Read here and look closely at your plant: