Thuja green giant look at this picture

boeingav8r(7)August 22, 2014

I bought 13 Thuja Green Giants and planted them back in May 2014. At the time of planting they were 3-4 feet tall, in pots, soil is average to good draining, and I live in zone 7 (north of Ft. Worth). They have grown in height and haven't filled out much at all.
At the time of planting, they were a darker green. Now, 3 months later, they have turned a much lighter shade of green, almost a yellow.
They have not dropped any leaves, no bronze/brown, no insects or any evidence of disease that I can see.
I water the trees about every 2-3 days, between 3 and 10 gallons per tree, depending on what my soil moisture meter says. I water less or more depending on temperature, wind, weather or not it's been sunny, and weather or not it's rained.
My soil meter always indicates dry soil when inserted within several inches of the trunk, but indicates wet soil when inserted a foot diameter from the trunk.
I'm worried about the yellow color. Does anybody have ideas about what's happening?
Thank You!!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i have found.. from experience.. that pix taken at mid day ... i see no shadows ... are often off color ... and then i noticed.. that it was the same as to my eyeballs ability to process color ...

can you take the same pix about an hour before sunset ... or early morning ...

the problem with small conifers.. is that the light goes right thru them ... and its not until a few years later.. when they actually bulk up ... that color starts to seem right ... mostly because of the dark interior ...

since you have 13 ... i would not hesitate to throw a LITTLE fert around one of them ... and see if it responds .... i usually have a cubed fert laying around.. and might spread a small handful .. 1/4 cup... at the periphery of the root ball planted.. or a foot out if bare root ... 12-12-12 ... 13 squared.. 16 sq'd .. less of the higher ...

if there is a second leader on that first one.. snip it off ... as with any others ...

and well you are out there.. use a hand trowel to dig a 6 inch hole .. and find out.. if your watering is in fact providing sufficient moisture.. at depth ... rereading.. how deep does you gauge measure.. and how does that compare to the root mass planted .... dont bet your couple hundred dollar investment.. on a 10 dollar gizmo.. check its performance ....

and dont forget... fall is coming on strong ... not too much fert.. late in the season .. we want them slowing down for dormancy.. not on steroids ... very little fert ...

if you see a result.. you can juice the rest in spring ... or maybe fall.. if someone with z7 experience suggests such ... as compared to my ground freeze z5

better pix???


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:15AM
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cococo(7 Nashville)

I don't think some fertilizer now would hurt because we have quite awhile until cold weather hits in our zone.I do agree with Ken 100percent on the color issue.I have a younger Pinus pendula,light almost bluish color.My older one is vivid dark green.Both are healthy.I think it takes them settling in and growing up a bit to sometimes put on the best color.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 10:08AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

because we have quite awhile until cold weather hits in our zone.

==>> but you are shooting craps.. on relying on ma nature.. and what 'usually' happens ...

last year snow cover started in late october.. instead of the usual late december ...

of course.. that did not mean the ground froze that early ...

just a LITTLE ... and you might not see the result until next spring ... if any ...

i thought of something else.. and now forgot.. i will work on that .. lol .. oh... some peeps complain they bronze in winter... i actually like that part ... sometimes it comes early.. dont freak if yours bronze early ...


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:06AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

yellowing generally is due to too much water or too alkaline of soils. It sounds like you're watering far too frequently. 2x per week is max (all 100-degree days during a given week) but once at 3-5 gallons per plant should be plenty!


    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 11:20AM
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Dax I will reduce the watering a bit and see what happens, thx for the input.

Ken, yes I will add a little bit of fertilizer like you said and snip off any second leaders.
My moisture reader is about 8-9 inches tall, just a cheapie I bought online. it does go deeper than I can insert my finger so I'm getting the "wet" reading down at 8-9 inches, but the soil is fairly "dry to slightly moist" when I insert my finger in the soil to about one inch.
The trees were purchased in pots from HD and they looked very healthy and had a nice dark green color. When I planted the trees, I loosened up the root mass a little bit with my hands. Sorry I don't remember the exact dimensions of the pot, but for the sake of this conversation, the root masses were a little smaller than a plastic gallon of milk.
Also I want to add, I planted them so that the top of the root mass is right at the top of the soil. I did add a little bit of natural fine shredded bark mulch around the trees, and the root masses probably have almost an inch of mulch covering it.

Also ken, forgive my ignorance, but can you please go into a bit more detail regarding "dig a 6 inch hole to see if moisture is getting to that depth?" Are you talking about filling a 6 inch hole up with water and seeing how long it takes the hole to drain?
Should the hole be dug next to the trees?

And regarding the pictures, I'm out of town for a week, I will have my wife take the same picture per your directions.

Thank you again gentlemen!!

This post was edited by boeingav8r on Sat, Aug 23, 14 at 14:20

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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I've planted may green giants over the years. A lot ofsmall to bigger B&Bs ones. Many have showed the exact same symptoms you are showing in the pics. Mine was most likely from soil-and just plain getting used to its environment. no over watering for me- I have too many and too little time for that. Eventually they will green up. Infact I planted about 30 smaller ones this year- some from HD others from the internet. All were very dark green when planted. now many look like yours. Not worried they will snap out of it I'm sure. A couple of the larger ones took a few years to really get their green back- but they did eventually. I never added any amendments to them either. keep an eye on them-but over all they are tough little trees.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:04PM
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Don't feed. You want them to search out for food and water at this age, not grow their roots in circles where you planted them.

In the next 1-2 years they should green up good.
Remember planting is a shock, give them a bit more time.

And yes water deep, less often. I'd suggest a soaker hose as it is so much easier.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 4:11PM
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I agree with Dax.

3-10 gal. of water every 2-3 days. Way to much water.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Ken - here's some pics about an hour before dusk.
They used to be as dark green as the grass in the background.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
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here's another

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:43PM
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last one.
FireWeed22 - So are you suggesting not to water close to the rootmass, but water farther away from the rootmass so roots have to search for water?
That does make sense.
Thanks for all the input!!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 10:48PM
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That is not what he said.
Go buy some more mulch for those trees.
1 inch of mulch in Texas isn't going to cut it.
When you get home from your trip, order some mulch from a local landscaping supply company, pine, have it delivered.
Then go buy a soaker hose from anywhere.
You place the soaker hose near the trunk of the tree, just not right up next to the trunk, throw 3 inches of mulch down all around the outside of the tree, not right up next to the trunk, throw it OVER the soaker hose. You won't see it, and all you have to do is turn on the soaker hose a couple nights a week for a couple hours.
Then check the soil after a couple days, up towards the tree, check to make sure it isn't dry.
With 3 inches of mulch, it should be moist.
Not wet,
You are overwatering them now. That is why they are yellow.
In the winter, don't forget ot check on them.
They will still need water in the winter.
Don't let the ground get dry as a bone, turn the soaker hose on again.
They will be fine.
Mulch them up.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 8:44PM
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One possible explanation for this sort of thing is that immature plants-especially recently planted immature plants, have not yet colonized a very large volume of soil with their little baby root systems. Thus, nutrient deficiencies can result even within a soil matrix holding all necessary nutes. This happens a lot, a young plant struggling and exhibiting poor foliage color, only to miraculously improve a year or two later. Unless they get very much worse, I'd mostly do as has been suggested and watch soil moisture, watering only when actually needed. The rest is just patience.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:54AM
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Butterflyu and Tom,

Thank yall very much for the input, I will get more mulch and soaker hose tomorrow.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 1:15PM
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