arborvitaes - Knowledgebase Question

Wheaton, Il
Avatar for rcek1982
Question by rcek1982
October 17, 2010
I have many arborvitaes in a fenced yard. They are planted to north, south, and west fence line of the yard. The bottom 20 inches have lost all its green in the last year. It has never grown back. Why have the bottoms died and the top is healthy and green?

Answer from NGA
October 17, 2010
It's really difficult to positively diagnose a plant problem without being able to inspect the plant. There are several possibilities for the symptoms you describe. First, all evergreens eventually lose their oldest foliage and since the problem is the lower (oldest) foliage and branches, this may be the cause. Next on the list of possibilites is water stress prior to going into the winter weather. Foliage that is dessicated can turn brown. The next possibility for the symptoms you describe can be spider mites. These pests can feed on the lower foliage and cause it to turn brown. To test for spider mites: on a dry day put a piece of white paper under some Arborvitae branches and shake vigorously. You?ll likely get a bunch of ?stuff??dried twigs, small green branches, specks of things, and some bugs. The bugs that are bigger and move quickly are not a problem?the spider mites are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence and they move. You can see them better if you look at them under a magnifying glass. Spidermites prefer dry, dusty places and usually are found on the inner branches and foliage but can migrate out towards the branch tips. To dislodge and discourage spider mites, direct a strong stream of water from the hose on the foliage, both upper and lower sides, and in towards the centers of your arborvitaes. I hope this information helps you determine just what may have caused the dead lower branches on your plants.

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