The Q&A Archives: Arborvitae, A Change In Color

Question: I have planted 52 pyramidal arborvitae as a screen in late September. Within in two weeks they yellowed and shedded in the center and towards the bottom. From your Q/A, I understand that this is normal. However, after watering every-other day, and applying MirAcid every two weeks, the remaining green has started to change color. It is now brown/green, not dead, but looks shocked. This occured after the first frost, and appears to be getting worse. Have I over watered, over fertilized. Is this type of browning a severve condition? Also, if they make it, how tall do the pyramidal aborvitae get? Please help; much time, money, and effort at stake!!

Answer: Based on your description I just can't tell if your plants are over or underwatered or have done a bit of normal fall shedding -- and unfortunately based on a description I can't tell if the color change you are describing now is a normal response to cooler temperatures or a sign of a problem. There are many types of arborvitae on the market and "Pyramidal" is used as a descriptive term rather than indicating a specific variety. For this reason I can't tell you if yours is one of the types that normally browns in winter or not -- some do. The ultimate size is also an unknown for the same reason. I'm really sorry I just can't be more helpful. You might want to discuss the plants with the nursery where you purchased them and possibly also with your local County Extension (285-4630) to see if they can give you a more specific identification of the problem (if any) and suggested remedies.

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