The Q&A Archives: Brown at bottom of arborvitae

Question: My arborvitae is very sparse at the bottom. They have not grown very bushy. Is there anything I can do to help them grow full and rich looking?

Answer: Based on your description it is difficult to determine the cause of the sparseness. Sometimes neighboring plants can shade the base and cause it die back for that reason, another cause is weed whacker damage or possibly some other type of injury such as that caused by dogs urinating on them or deer eating them during the winter. It is also possible that there is an insect or disease problem at work. Finally, in some varieties, a certain amount of sparseness at the base is normal as the plants grow larger and taller. If the sparseness is unusual, or if their overall growth is poor, you might consult with your County Extension (724-9120) about possible causes.

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