The Q&A Archives: why is my shrub turning brown?

Question: I have a Emerald Green Arborvitae which I planted on the west side of my home in Fenton, Michigan. It was doing really well (which 3 others that I planted are still doing!) This one, however, is turning brown from the tips inward. could this tree be diseased since I purchased them all at the same time? We did have a frost last week but wouldn't that have hurt all the shrubs?

Answer: I agree, frosty weather would affect all three, not just one of them. I'd closely inspect the affected one for signs of insects or disease. If you have a magnifying glass, look for tiny insects and webbing on the undersides of the foliage. Spider mite populations can wreck havoc with arborvitaes. If you find none, then inspect the root system. Root rot, caused by poor soil drainage, will turn the roots mushy. Healthy roots are white inside; diseased roots will be a rusty brown or black. Even though your arborvitaes are planted near one another, soil drainage can be different from one planting spot to another.

Hope this helps you determine the problem!

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