The Q&A Archives: Evergreen topiary tree browning

Question: I have a pine topiary tree that I purchased in the fall of 2004. During the summer-time, this topiary evergreen (spiral about 2 feet high) started to brown slightly on one side. I was told that it might be an insect infestation of some sort and to pour soapy water over it. This I did..and the problem seemed to go away. That is, until about two months ago. The same problem has come back, only much worse as 40% of the topiary is affected with a slight browning...almost like it is drying out. I bought another topiary at the same time as this one, and have had no problems at all with it. Pleas help.

Answer: There are many different possible causes for your tree to look as though it is drying out. Unfortunately it is very difficult to diagnose long distance because it could be several different insects, different diseases, or even a root problem or an environmental problem. I would suggest you work with your local county extension to determine the cause and once you know that, figure out how to treat it. If it is something that needs a chemical control, they will have the most up to date recommendations on what to use and how/when to apply it for best results. It is almost always better to treat these types of problems as soon as you notice them, so don't wait. Good luck with your topiary!

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