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Name: jj corbett
salem alabama
jjmmcc727
Mar 3, 2015 2:40 PM CST
My husband bought these ceder trees about two months ago . We are wondering why they seem to be turning brown on the outside ? we believe they are in Leland cedar trees.
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Mar 3, 2015 2:48 PM CST
Welcome! jj

I am sorry I do not know much about trees, or your part of the states. Were they watered regularly?
Name: jj corbett
salem alabama
jjmmcc727
Mar 3, 2015 3:24 PM CST
Yes they where watered regularly.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2015 3:57 PM CST
Those could be Leland Cypress or Giant Green Arborvitae. They are very similar. Regardless, your tress should not be turning brown. They are evergreen. If he bought them from a reputable dealer, even a big-box store, I would imagine he could return them for a refund or replacement. I have a feeling that the tree(s) were mishandled (probably not watered for a long period of time) before he ever purchased them. How did he transport those trees home?

Here are my stand of Green Giant Arborvitae that were 6' tall when planted 2 1/2 years ago. The trees are now approximately 15' tall. The picture was taken just after a snow event last week.

Thumb of 2015-03-03/drdawg/12a6d3 night


Thumb of 2015-03-03/drdawg/0ca7ce early morning

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Name: jj corbett
salem alabama
jjmmcc727
Mar 3, 2015 4:02 PM CST
We just out them in the car aND brought them home . I belive the place got them from has a no return is there to help save them ?
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
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flaflwrgrl
Mar 3, 2015 4:08 PM CST
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! to ATP jjmmcc!
By the way, they are not cedar trees - not even in the same family. They do appear to be Leyland Cypress. They are notorious for a disease that kills them. Down here, they won't even sell them anymore except you can find them at the big box stores. I would say yours are probably suffering from canker. Here is a link about it. Or 2.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/causes-browning-leyland-cypress...

http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1160/ANR-1160.pdf
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2015 4:09 PM CST
No, not as far as I know. You transported them fine. IF they had been in the back of a pickup truck, and were not covered, just the steady wind of going 50-65 mph would dehydrate them and they might not have survived that. But as I suspected, the trees were likely "dead" when purchased. I assume they were planted at the same depth as they were growing in the pot and that they are sitting in a pool of water (no drainage), right?

The death of an evergreen is fairly straight-forward and predictable, simply by the way those evergreen branches begin to die back. The one with a good bit of green might make it though. Don't fertilize that one until you start to see new growth in the spring.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2015 4:13 PM CST
Leland Cypress trees are very popular here and landscape people put them in all the time. I had that choice when I did the landscape on the back property line and my landscape folks (a landscape architect) recommended the Arborvitae over the Leland. I have certainly been pleased with the results so far.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Mar 3, 2015 5:29 PM CST
Hi JJ! Welcome. Sorry we had to meet over your trees' dead bodies!

jjmmcc727 said:We just out them in the car aND brought them home . I belive the place got them from has a no return is there to help save them ?


A "no returns" policy suggests that they might not be surprised that they are selling trees they expect to be DOA (Dead On Arrival). It might have been too late before you paid the clerk.

But some places with a "no returns" policy might have a policy to GIVE a partial refund if you show up on a busy day (like during sales of spring seedlings or bushes) and complain loudly in front of other customers about how they sold you an obviously root-bound tree with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Stress that it was in the ground and watered within hours of being sold.

(Can you tell that I lived in NJ for many years, and lost every trace of civilized behavior?)

If the root ball was "all-white" and had roots densely circling the pot or filling the bottom few inches, they sold you a "pot-bound" plant, or "root-bound" plant, that they had to expect would die or never thrive. They should have sold it at a deep discount and warned you to root-prune it severely and then nurse it back to health, or at least back to life. (If root-pruning works on trees - I don't know.)

If it is not canker, the only thing I can suggest is that you give whatever roots are still alive the best possible chance to keep living.

If they are in dry soil, water infrequently but long enough for water to sink down to the roots. You might have to build a little circular wall around the planting hole to hold water there long enough for it to perk down to where it can do some good.

If they are in poorly-draining clay soil, added water might not ever drain down far enough to reach the roots. The plant would die of thirst if its roots can't reach down to the natural water table.

Or, it might already have wet, saturated soil near the roots so much that no air is reaching the roots. That works on plant roots the same way it works on people: no air causes drowning pretty quickly. Drowned or rotted roots mean no water can be taken up, and the above-ground plant will die of thirst while the roots finish drowning and rotting. Like college freshmen in a phone booth filled with beer: if their mouths are taped shut, they can't drink no matter HOW much beer is all around them.

If they are in very poorly-draining soil, you have to improve the drainage. If they are "all dead", that won't help. If they are only "mostly dead", maybe there is SOME chance.

If you have drowned roots, AND have a slope to work with, you can cut a slit trench from the planting hole down-slope. If water can perk from the hole into your trench, enough water MAY drain out of the root zone to let some air back in. Any living roots can then start to grow back, if it isn't too late.

If the impervious layer of the soil is only 2-3 feet deep, you might be able to dig or drill down past the clay layer into some sub-soil that DOES allow drainage. If you back-fill that hole with drainage gravel and rocks, I think that makes it a "French Drain".

Then you only need a trench from your planting holes to the French Drain. BTW, that new drain will help all the soil around it and around any trench draining into it (if the trench if 18-30 inches deep). It will tend to lower the water table for several feet in all directions. As the water drains out, air will enter. That will allow aerobic bacteria and fungi and worms to re-enter the soil. Eventually they will help it drain better.

I don't see much point to excavating the planting holes and trying again. If the surrounding soil doesn't drain (such as heavy clay), it won't help the plant to dig a big hole and back-fill with the best soil ever seen. The water will fill the hole like a mud wallow, and STILL not drain out the bottom.


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Good luck! Please let us know how it comes out, whether good or ill. That way we can learn from your misfortune!
[Last edited by RickCorey - Mar 3, 2015 5:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2015 5:44 PM CST
Yep, I sit on a100' deep layer of clay. It is either like quick-sand or concrete. Nothing in between. Sticking tongue out When I had that backyard landscaping done, the crew spent an entire day removing vegetation (scrub trees/weeds) and clay. 90% of the time was spent in the clay removal. They used a large, commercial backhoe to take it out and then hauled it away in two huge dump trucks. The landscape architect said they probably removed 20-30 tons of clay! I think he might have been talking about just one dump truck full. Whistling That excavation was then filled in with good, highly organic soil. One advantage I/they had was that the landscape area was on a gentle hill, so having that slope helps.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Mar 3, 2015 5:59 PM CST
I used to excavate each "raised bed" 12" deep and then assure drainage from that depth to some nearby lower spot. Then I amended that removed soil, and then cart it back to the site of the bed and return the new soil. Now it is raised above grade.

Now I consider the CLAY to be the "amendment", and I only want 20% to 30% of the new soil to be clay. Thus what I dig out should have 2 to 4 times as much "other stuff" added. In other words, sigh, store-bought "soil". That was not my original goal! I wanted to MAKE fertile soil from clay plus scrounged materials.

Next time I make a new bed, I won't excavate DOWN much more than I need to create a consistent slope towards my "drain-away trench". I'll go over to making raised beds that are ALL raised, and not sunken. Over time, leaching compost and worms will soften and then aerate the deeper clay layers.

>> I sit on a100' deep layer of clay.

I guess you won;'t be digging many French Drains!

>> It is either like quick-sand or concrete. Nothing in between.

You might laugh, but I took to heart the "rule" about never working soil while it was wet. So when I excavated my clay, I had to use a pick to break up the clay first. Yes, chip it out like a sculptor with marble.

Eventually someone asked me why I didn't soften the clay first with a little water, like overnight?

The answer would be "Because I was very very dumb!" or, at least, inexperienced.

You CAN make clay so wet that it sticks to your shovel and weighs even more than it used to. But even a LITTLE water makes hard clay soft enough that you don't need a pick. Or at least each swing of the pick breaks up more than just one little chip!

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 3, 2015 9:11 PM CST
All nice theories. You couldn't break up our clay with a pick. Sorry. How about dynamite! The commercial back-hoe was more practical. How do you slightly moisten 100' of clay overnight? Give it some thought, Rick. I have been there - done that. I could build a swimming pool in this clay. Heck, it would NEVER drain! Perhaps you would like to research "Yazoo Clay". I don't think you folks in WA have a clue what we have down here. Sorry, Rick. I don't mean to be "difficult".
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Mar 3, 2015 10:21 PM CST
Welcome! JJ. I'm no expert but we go grow a bunch of evergreen trees up this way. Hilarious! I was thinking it was some kind of Thuja/arborvitae. Has it been very cold in your area? If so some of these will brown out but turn green again by summer. Just wait and see if you get new growth this growing season. Also it could very well be dead but it cost nothing to wait. There are evergreens that turn brown, pruple or yellow in the cold of winter but then green out in summer. They are doing amazing things with evergreens these days.
http://landscaping.about.com/od/shrubcare/f/winter_burn.htm
This is what I was talking about. Winter burn.
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[Last edited by springcolor - Mar 3, 2015 10:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 4, 2015 6:31 AM CST
I was thinking along the same lines, Julia, but not sure how cold it has been in Alabama. Still, if they were planted fairly recently and it has been cold, windy and sunny they could well have winter-burn, which apparently isn't unusual on Leyland cypress.

Around here Thuja /arborvitae always go an off colour in winter, "microbiota" (Microbiota decussata) are even worse. I'm not sure the exact mechanism for that but in those cases it isn't necessarily a "burn" per se because the plants return to a normal green in spring.

My understanding is that Leyland cypress doesn't typically do that but, as you say, best thing is to wait it out and see what happens, especially if they are still green on the inside and just brown on the tips. That looks to be the case in one picture, hard to say with the other (are they of the same individual plant?). If the brown bits really are dead then they won't green up, and it won't regrow from old bare wood.



Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2015 6:44 AM CST
Here in the deep south, both the Leland Cypress and the Thuja/Arborvitae are evergreen trees. The first picture is a stand of Leland Cypress across the street and the second picture is of Arborvitae/Thuja in my back yard. The pictures were taken at 6:30 AM, so though all the trees have a dark, rich green color, there is too little light to bring that out.

Thumb of 2015-03-04/drdawg/d9fa99

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 4, 2015 8:27 AM CST
Thuja/Arborvitae are evergreen here too, Ken, but they go an unattractive yellowy-browny-green shade in winter, or at least T. occidentalis does. They green up again in spring, same foliage, it doesn't drop. I tried to take a picture this morning but it doesn't really show the colour. Leyland cypress doesn't grow here although I'm familiar with it from living in the UK. There are lots of images of winter-burned leylandii's in the USA on Google though, but I agree that it shouldn't be getting just the cold non-burned off-colour. I think the OP is zone 8a?
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2015 8:37 AM CST
Since our winters are far more mild than yours, our evergreens don't generally show that "burned appearance".
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Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Mar 4, 2015 9:40 AM CST
I'm not sure how cold it can get in Alabama guess we now wait for the return of JJ.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Mar 4, 2015 9:56 AM CST
springcolor said:I'm not sure how cold it can get in Alabama guess we now wait for the return of JJ.


Looking on Weather Underground, the nearest weather station I'm getting is Auburn and it has been below freezing several times there since the new year, the lowest being -13C (8.6F) in January.

Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Mar 4, 2015 10:54 AM CST
All of the south has had unusually cold weather this and last year. Heck, we got down into the mid-teens in November, and that's unheard of in the deep south. But compared to the northern tier of states and of course parts of Canada, our cold temperatures are pretty much "mild". Mary, who lives in Anchorage, has told me several times that it is colder in Mississippi than in Anchorage. Go figure. Shrug!
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