The Q&A Archives: DeerHorn Cedar

Question: I have a ornamental Deerhorn Cedar bush/tree. It has been very healthy up till now. It is starting to turn brown at the tips in some areas of the bush. What can I do? It is not wilted, and has new growth. Is this normal thing in the fall? I have never seen it do this before. The bush is about 11 years old.

Answer: Deerhorn Cedar (Thujopsis dolobrata) is usually multi-trunked. This tree can attain 100 feet in its native Japan, but in cultivation it is usually a large shrub. Its name comes from the prominent white V's on the underside of the leaf-scales. To do well, elkhorn cypress needs a moist environment, as it comes from a region of heavy rainfall. It dislikes windy areas, being easily subject to wind-burn. As with most rainy-weather plants, it wants acidic soil. It will not often thrive in hotter climates. If your Deerhorn Cedar has been doing well for 11 years and you haven't made any drastic changes in its exposure, watering or feeding schedule, the browning may be weather related. I'd prune away the affected foliage. If more develops, you may be dealing with an insect or fungal infection and the best way to treat it would be to take a sample of the problem to your local Cooperative Extension office for a positive identification. Helpful folks there can suggest control strategies. Phone 503-725-2000. Best wishes with your garden!

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