DEGROOT'S SPIRE ARBORVITAE - Knowledgebase Question

oklahoma city, ok
Avatar for jfwoods2
Question by jfwoods2
August 11, 2005
In late spring we purchased and planted a Degroot's in our garden. Because of the extreme summer heats in Oklahoma, the nursery recommended it be planted a shaded area. We planted the tree in a garden bed, under a large maple or oak tree. We planted it with the root ball about 2 inches above the soil line, amended the soil with compost, added a layer of mulch and the tree has received regular watering. Shortly after planting, a small portion of the bottom foliage died, which we attributed to damage done during planting. Since then, all of the lower foliage around the bottom has continued to die and seems to be slowing moving further up the tree. I have read all the Q & A about the Degroot?s and none seem to apply. We do not own pets, is not planted where a weed wacker is used and have checked for insects.. Do you have any suggestions? Also, it seems that with some varieties of evergreens, once a portion of the foliage dies, it never grows back. If the Degroot?s can be saved, will the foliage re-grow, or will it always remain barren at the bottom? Thank you for your help. Jim Woods, OKC

Answer from NGA
August 11, 2005
Arborvitae will not sprout from old wood, so depending on the age of the plant it may or may not regrow at the base -- more likely not. I am not certain what is causing the problem, however loss of lower foliage first moving upward is often caused by overwatering; it can also be a sign of an infection such as a fungal problem or it might be due to a pest problem. Arborvitae will also grow thinner in shade, it actually prefers full sun and needs a minimum of a half a day of direct sun so the loss may be related to the location. I am not certain why you planted it so high, usually within a half inch is about right as it allows for some settlement over time. This is a plant that does best in evenly moist, organic and humusy soil. It should not be sopping wet, damp like a wrung out sponge is good. If your soil is heavy clay, or if you are watering daily, it is possible you have overwatered it. Hitting the foliage with water while watering can also contribute to disease development. All in all it is very difficult to diagnose this type of thing long distance. Since this is a new plant I would suggest you work with your professional nursery staff and/or county extension to determine what has caused to foliage to drop and then work from there. I'm sorry you are having trouble with it.

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