Arborvitae Trouble

jimpa1000April 3, 2007


2 springs ago, we planted a row of Emerald Green Arborvitae. The first year they all did well. Here is a comparison photo showing 4 months after planting and 16 months:

(Note: I did add another layer of landscaping timber to the planter)

Last year for some reason--either over watering or I accidentally got some lawn fertilizer on them--all but one became inflicted by brown dead branches, some worse than others. They have all mostly recovered except these two on the end:

Will these ever recover? If so, how long will it take? Should I replace them?

Another problem I am having is it seems that some of these trees are loosing their shape and the branches are falling all over the place:

After the browning incident, I started giving them a weekly dose of fertilizer with miratic acid as someone told me this will help. Do I need to trim these to get them back into shape? Why are the branches falling away from the main trunk?

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Three questions.
I have to ask. Did you check for mites?
What caused the 'bleaching' effect on the grass weeds in the left hand corner?
Did you use a "Miracid" brand product (a liquid fertilizer perhaps) or an acid like muriatic acid?
You can check for mites by taking a stiff sheet of white paper to the plant and shaking some of the leaves over the sheet. Look for tiny things scurrying across the paper; choose a bright sunny day and check all the plants. If your plants do have a mite infestation, I am not sure what remedies are available. Mites have always been problematic for me. Try for a systemic miticide; abamectin appears to be effective but timing is critical for you to obtain the full benefits. On the other hand, if you did spray those trees with muriatic acid.....all bets are off.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 7:02PM
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I actually used Miracid, "Plant Food for acid-loving plants." Sorry about misstating that. The grass in the corner is dormant here in Montana this time of year, but it was also frozen in ice for a bit, due to this years conditions, so it may have a problem. Havent checked for mites, but I will. I don't think this is the problem, because they all browned considerably after what I believe was some misplaced grass fertilizer (one of those spinning dispensers). But I also may have over watered them. Thanks

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 10:12PM
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They almost look like they are physically damaged from snow load. Do they get buried in snow?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:07PM
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The "grass" in the left hand corner is old bearded iris foliage - you can see the new fans emerging from the center :-)

Lawn fertilizer should not have had any browning affect, unless it was weed & feed type formulation or you really overdid it. Most lawn fertilizer has a high nitrogen content and would cause the arbs to become even more lush and green if you were watering them as much as you say.

That brings us to my last point.......exactly how much and how often did you water them? That browning looks more like drought stress than much of anything else (they don't call these swamp cedars for nothing!)

And the drooping foliage is most likely due to snow loads.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:33PM
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