Trees and Shrubs forum: Cedar Tree Dying?

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Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3a)
j1mm3rs
Jul 11, 2016 1:04 PM CST
Hey everyone. I'm just wondering if anyone can give me some insight on to why my cedar tree is starting to brown. They have been planted for 3 years and are growing great up until now. One of them is starting to turn a very light green, looking even brown in some spots. They are Thuja occidentalis 'Brandon' cedars. The weird part is that this one is the tallest of the 3, but over the past few weeks has changed color where the other's haven't. I can't see any indication of bug's on the leaves or bark. The leaves are brittle yet either.

Thanks!


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Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
Jul 17, 2016 1:09 PM CST
Where is this plant growing (city, state, gardening zone)? Have you had excessive rainfall this season? How well drained are the soils, or does this area stay boggy?

This has the hallmarks of a plant sitting too long in water...
John
Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3a)
j1mm3rs
Jul 24, 2016 8:35 AM CST
ViburnumValley said:Where is this plant growing (city, state, gardening zone)? Have you had excessive rainfall this season? How well drained are the soils, or does this area stay boggy?

This has the hallmarks of a plant sitting too long in water...


Thanks for the reply. These trees are in the city in Manitoba Canada. Zone 3a. We have had quick a bit of rain so far this year. I think the soil drains pretty well, the other two cedars are usually pretty dry. I try to water them every few days weather permitting, but I may over water this one then. Is there anything that can be done besides not watering it as often? Will the tree recover?
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
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JuneOntario
Jul 24, 2016 9:59 AM CST
Hi j1mm3rs! When you took the trees out of their pots to plant them, did you happen to notice whether the roots were winding round and round inside the pots? If the tree now in trouble was "pot bound" you may need to unwind some roots. I also think that the trees look as if they are planted too close together and are competing for water and nutrients. Trees planted for 3 years should not need watering so frequently, they should be able to survive on their own by now! Can you space them further apart? What kind of soil are the trees planted in, and how deep is it? I'm wondering if you have just a shallow layer of good soil, and something else beneath.
Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3a)
j1mm3rs
Jul 24, 2016 12:04 PM CST
JuneOntario said:Hi j1mm3rs! When you took the trees out of their pots to plant them, did you happen to notice whether the roots were winding round and round inside the pots? If the tree now in trouble was "pot bound" you may need to unwind some roots. I also think that the trees look as if they are planted too close together and are competing for water and nutrients. Trees planted for 3 years should not need watering so frequently, they should be able to survive on their own by now! Can you space them further apart? What kind of soil are the trees planted in, and how deep is it? I'm wondering if you have just a shallow layer of good soil, and something else beneath.


The roots were round up inside the pot, but I tried my best to loosen them before I planted the trees. There is heavy clay where I live, but about 6 inches of soil on top. I'd be scared to move them because they've grown so much. I'm pretty sure I'd break or disturb the roots.
Name: June
Rosemont, Ont. (Zone 4a)
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JuneOntario
Jul 24, 2016 2:41 PM CST
I suspect that the underlying clay is either preventing water from draining away and "drowning" the tree roots, or preventing the tree from rooting deeply enough. I suggest that you select an alternative planting site for the sick tree. Prepare the site by digging deep, at least two spade depths, to break up the clay, over a wide area (to allow for future root expansion) and add a lot of vegetable matter such as compost or dampened peat moss to improve the soil texture. Choose a day when the weather is cool and damp to lift the tree, keeping as much soil on the roots as possible, and replant it in the new site. Loosen and spread out any circled roots as you plant it. Keep it shaded from hot sun and watered, but not soggy, until you see signs of growth. Hopefully there will be time for it to settle-in before winter. I think you need to act fast, while the tree is still green.

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