The Q&A Archives: Thinning 11 Year Old Arborvitae Hedge

Question: I have a hedge with 15 upright arborvitae (7'-8' tall). Two years ago they began to lose a lot of their thick green growth. My local nursery said it was probably the dry weather. Last year was very wet and they have continued to dwindle. They are very sparse although the top is a little thicker than the rest. Each branch has some green and some brown at the tips. One book's picture of arborvitae with leafminer damage looked similar. If this is the problem is there any hope? Are there organic remedies? The hedge is near trees but still gets some sun.

Answer: Based on the description you have provided, I would suggest you take a photo of the hedge along with some samples to your county extension (652-5400) for a specific diagnosis of the problem(s) and suggested remedies. Arborvitae are subject to pest and disease problems as well as being prone to defoliate over time if grown in too shady a spot, but it is unfortunately impossible to determine the exact cause by long distance. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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