brown arborvitae - Knowledgebase Question

Wyoming, Pe
Question by myairisart
June 28, 2010
My arborvitae are turning brown. They were planted in the spring and we have twelve.. some branches are dry and brown now. How often should we water? Are spidermites an issue with these plants? If so, what's the best product to kill them and keep them away? Also, should we trim the dead branches off?

Thanks. Valerie

Answer from NGA
June 28, 2010


The older, inner leaves of arborvitae (Thuja) naturally turn brown and drop in the autumn (similar to the loss of leaves on deciduous trees). This shouldn't cause alarm, and does not indicate disease. If the tips of the branches are turning brown, look for infestations of spider mites (they leave tiny webbing between the junctions of the leaves and stems), or consider cultural problems such as over- or under-watering. Sometimes the leaf tips will turn brown because they've been exposed to sudden temperature changes. Since your arborvitae have just recently been planted, they may be going through an adjustment period. Give them about an inch of water every week, and prune off the brown tips to encourage healthy new green growth. I think when the root systems establish they will begin to thrive. Good luck with your arborvitaes.

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