Dead Arborvitaes - Knowledgebase Question

Belchertown, Ma
Avatar for jennmccray
Question by jennmccray
March 30, 2007
I live in Western Mass and I bought about 108 American Arborvitaes from a tree farm. We planted in the spring and by the fall about 30 of them were dead. We took them back to the tree farm and had them replaced. Now about 15 of those trees are also dying and replaceable. The soil is very rich, but it does have a high water table. We had a landscaper come and deep feed fertilizer in the fall, but they still don't look like they will make it. They are also planted in a very sunny spot along our back yard. Any suggestions??

Answer from NGA
March 30, 2007
How exasperating for you! I think the most important aspect is the high water table. How high is high? If, when digging a planting hole, the bottom of the hole is soggy, the water table is too high for your arborvitates. If the water table is lower than 18-24" from the surface, your plant's roots should be okay. If it's higher than that, you'll either want to plant on a berm or install a curtain drain of sorts to redirect the water away from the roots of the plants. You could use plastic drainpipe with holes drilled all around so excess moisture can seep into the pipe and keep the soil around the roots from remaining constantly saturated. Dig a trench, line it with gravel, set the pipe in the trench and then cover it with more gravel, topping it off with about 6" of soil (so you can grow lawn over the top).

Best wishes with your arborvitaes!

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