Thuja Green Giant turning yellow and brown..what to do?

marc11(5)May 20, 2008

Hi everyone! I've searched for this exact situation, but was unable to find the answer. Spring '08, I've just purchased and planted seven 4' Thuja green giants and planted them EXACTLY as instructed by several on-line sites. Soil is mostly clay here in Colorado. They were a little yellowish/browning at the top when I planted, but the guy at the nursery said they probably got a little too much water there. Now in the ground, the top 50% of 5 of the plants is starting to turn even more yellow and brown and moving it's way to the bottom. They've been in the ground a week and I've watered twice with healthy doses. I may be overreacting, but I don't want to lose them. Any suggestions? Ken,Dax...anyone?? Thanks in advance!

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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

"They've been in the ground a week and I've watered twice with healthy doses".

The first thing to do is stop the healthy watering. Obviously this is contributing to your plants down hill slide.

Let them stabilize and acclimate to their new surroundings and water again when soil is dry 2-3 inches down.

Hopefully you have a 1 year guarantee. If they brown out they are dead.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 7:19PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Please define "planted them EXACTLY as instructed by several on-line sites". And did you get a good look at the roots before you planted them?

tj

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 11:47PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

INSERT FINGER TO 2ND KNUCLE.. AND DO NOT WATER AGAIN.. oops ... until the soil is drying or hot ...

they were browning when you got them ... not a good sign ...

but a picture would be worth a thousand words...

ken

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 9:22AM
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marc11(5)

Thanks for the reply guys. By exactly as directed, I mean a hole 1 1/2 times the size of the plant, a mixture of Miracle Gro tree and shrub potting soil and compost lining the hole, a mixture of both and natural soil filling the hole and a nice mulch around the base.

I just went and stuck my finger in the ground around the trees and it's moist less than an inch into the ground.

I took some clippings to the nursery I bought them from and the guy who sold them to me says "they're not getting enough water....it's been in the 80's and you haven't watered them since Saturday?" I said no and he said "you're killing them because you're not watering them enough" I think he may be an idiot....I don't know.

But, I can assure you, the ground is moist less than an inch down which would lead me to believe it's moist at the roots. By the way, the roots looked good out of the pot and going into the ground, but as I said before, the top part of the plants was a much lighter green than the bottom 50% when I bought them.

I don't know what to do...I do have a year warranty, but already can't find the receipt. Go figure. I guess I'm going to be out of luck.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 2:08PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

"The guy at the nursery said they probably got a little too much water there".

"I took some clippings to the nursery I bought them from and the guy who sold them to me says "they're not getting enough water".

"I think he may be an idiot".

I have no problem with that.

Do you have a county extension agent. They will come out and evaluate your problem. If not, just sit on them and watch your water. There is nothing else you can do.

You will find your receipt. Been there and done that. We all have.

Good luck,

Dave

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 2:26PM
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marc11(5)

Thanks Dave...

Yep, the guy who sold them to me when I bought them said "I think they're getting too much water, they need to get in the ground" So I bought them and took them home and put them in the ground. Then today he looked at the clippings and said "you haven't watered them since Saturday, you need to water them every other day and babysit them"

Total contradiction.....It's apparent he has no clue, he's setting up a "blame the buyer" excuse to not honor the warranty. It fries my bacon....and yes, he seemed like an idiot. I'd rather trust you guys here who have dealt with Thuja Green Giants before.

Is it possible that at my elevation (about 6500 ft.) that they could have plenty of water, but are being killed by the sun due to higher sun exposure rates due to altitude? Are they sensitive to that? (as in it's easier for a person go get a sunburn at high altitude)

By the way, this particular nursery was the only one of 5 in my general area that even carried the Green Giants. Maybe that should tell me something.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 2:35PM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

I can't answer that question...it is over my head... so to speak...6500 ft. worth.

There are a couple of guys on this forum that will chime in and give you a correct answer to the altitude issues.

Personally I don't think that is the problem but I have been wrong before.

In my opinion the 'Green Giants' were compromised before you bought them. If they were yellowish and browning at the top they should have not been sold till it was determined what the issues were and then resolved.

Dave

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 2:54PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the rootball must have proper water ... all the way to the bottom ...

i said insert finger 2 inches...

you said wet to one inch ...

what about the other 18 to 24 inches of the root ball???

i would not have amended the planting hole ... NEVER fertilize them ...

report back when you find out about deeper water .. just dig a hole ....

ken

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 4:53PM
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marc11(5)

Ken, Thank you for the help....I'm trying. I really am. I dug a hole next to one of the plants about a foot deep and it was esentially thick mud...seemingly wet soil.

However, I've decided to try an experiment. I am going to water one of the plants and soak it a little bit..get the water all the way down past the root ball. The others, I'm going to ease off and not water until the ground gets more dry. I suppose I will monitor each plant and see what happens with them and report back to you.

Unless you have any other suggestions.... I'm all ears...

I'm just confused. The ground seems to be wet, especially when I stick my index finger in as far as it will go...when I pull it out, there is mud stuck to it. The guy at the nursery says it's not getting enough water.

Please advise...thanks..Marc

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 6:47PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

"...a mixture of Miracle Gro tree and shrub potting soil and compost lining the hole, a mixture of both and natural soil filling the hole ..."

Amending the planting hole can cause trouble with the way water moves through the soil. The varying textures, in simple terms, affects the way water percs. Anything from a "bathtub" effect where surrounding water pools in your planting hole to water not draining away even though surrounding soil is dry. It sounds as if the latter is occurring now for you. I use the finger test myself 99% of the time, but here you may want to use a dowel long enough to reach into the rootball to monitor the moisture. From this distance, I'd say too much water is the issue.

Your assessment of your nurseryman may be correct and Dave's comment on the trees' condition prior to sale is spot on.

tj

    Bookmark   May 22, 2008 at 1:29AM
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vrk613

Hi, Whatever happened with this? Did the trees survive? I'm at about 6,100 feet.

I planted 9 Thuja green giants first week of April 2012, all a beautiful healthy green 2 feet tall, nice roots. It took about a week and all turned brown. I also planted perfectly, AFTER reading several online sites, including THIS DISCUSSION THREAD.

Planted in full sun, clay soil. Watering appropriately. The outer leaves which are visible from a distance have turned brown, but a closer look reveals that near the trunks, the leaves remain a healthy dark green color. The green parts are being shaded by the brown dead leaves.
It almost looks like they're protecting themselves. I thought they might be trying to adapt to the new altitude, and possibly they got wind burn (as we get heavy winds) and one night of light snow accumulation soon after planting. The weather's been fine since then.

But I'd love to know... did your Colorado thujas recover and survive?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:12PM
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MollyF

I also planted 2 Thuja trees, ball and burlap, one is doing fine, the other is yellowing and browning. They were sold as 6-7 ft. trees, but probably taller than that. I have been using a deep root waterer a few times a week on the sad one. It is green on the inner fronds. We have heavy clay soil and live in No. Texas hot and humid weather. If it goes back a bit until established that's understandable, I just don't want to lose it. I hope someone can help me. Hubby will not help me move another tree in (they are heavy)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 7:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey molly ....

start your own post.. and add some pix...

there is a multitude of reasons for yellowing.. and words alone fail ...

but one thing for sure... even if you have a warranty .... the replacement should be half size ... they are so much easier to deal with.... maybe they will give you two ....

ken

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 10:00AM
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MollyF

Thanks Ken will do, probably in the am...to hot for my dogs outside right now and of course they will go with me

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 4:36PM
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