The Q&A Archives: Browning Of Emerald Arborvitae

Question: We have eight 5-6 foot Emerald Arborvitae that we planted in March of this year. Our area had a drought but we watered them several times a week. They looked fantastic during the summer, they grew a little since they were planted and seemed extremely healthy. About a month ago, early September, all of them started to turn brown on the inside at the bottom. In the past month the brown has progressed up to about mid-height and they are exfoliating a lot. We have noticed more leaves falling of than branches/branchlets. Are we doing something wrong? What can be done to help them recover?

Mark and Natasha Reinhardt

Answer: Although evergreen, each fall these plants do show a certain amount of browning in the interior and the oldest foliage drops. This may well be what you are seeing, especially since they seem to have been healthy over the summer. For reassurance, and also just to make sure it is not a disease type problem causing the browning, you might want to take a few photos and consult with your county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to see what they think. Good luck with your arborvitae.

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