All about Emerald Green aborvitae - Knowledgebase Question

Arlington, Ma
Question by blackcloud88
April 12, 2010
Last summer, we planted about 20 arborvitaes as hedges. This spring, I noticed that they are losing a lot of leaves near the trunk & near the base. Its also thinning out. I placed some vigoro tree fertilizer. Then, I noticed that there were some yellow/browning at the leaves tips. FYI, they were also planted 1 ft apart. I heard the recommended spacing is two feet. Should I dig them and space 2ft?

Answer from NGA
April 12, 2010


If the new growth is yellowish, it is probably normal. New arborvitae growth will appear a bright yellow green, contrasting with the rest of the plant, and be very soft. As it ages, the arborvitae growth will become harder and the color will darken to match the tree. Arborvitaes prefer moist soil, but it needs to dry out slightly between waterings. If the soil remains too wet it will exclude oxygen; the roots need both water and air. The emerald arborvitae can reach a height of thirty feet and have a spread of about eight to ten feet. Arborvitae, while very drought tolerant, will grow much faster when given the proper amount of water. The thinning branches especially towards the base is a natural part of the plant's growth habit. Pruning your arborvitae will allow the plant to grow healthy new foliage, and allow for the lower branches to have direct sunlight. Your plants are much too close. I'd remove every other one and replant them elsewhere. This will give the remaining plants elbow room and they will grow together and create a dense privacy screen. Best wishes with your arborvitaes.

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