Arborvitae – Discoloring

Q: I have two arborvitae that were planted in June of this year. They are still green at the tips, but the interior of the bush is turning brown. Are they lacking water or is something else going on?

A: Planting evergreen shrubs like arborvitae, Leyland cypress, and cryptomeria in June is inviting trouble. The root system of these shrubs has a horrendous time supplying water to the needles, even if you water regularly. The stressed plant shows its displeasure by dropping its oldest, interior needles. The prognosis for your arborvitae depends on how much foliage is left at this point. If more than 50% is brown, there is little chance they will survive.

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