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Dying Arborvitae

Donald Asked

Two years ago I had one Arborvitae that started turning brown. I cut those limbs off. It is completely dead today. I have another one several bushed away now doing the same thing. I have not cut those limbs off yet. I think that another one is doing the same thing now. I read it might be some sort of blight and there is really nothing to do. Can you give me any direction?

Thank you,
Rev. Donald R. Smith

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Rev. Smith: All plants are more prone to insect and disease issues when they are stressed. Plant stress occurs when growing conditions are not ideal. Arborvitae require moist but well-drained soil. If the soil is too wet it can cause rot. These evergreens are tolerant of part shade but full sun (six or more hours of direct sunlight) is best. With that being said, it is normal to see some inner browning this time of the year but if entire branches are declining this is more of a concern. Arborvitae, for the most part, are quite disease resistant but are susceptible to a few different fungal(blight) and pest problems. Bagworms are the most common pest problem. Without seeing your Arborvitae, I can’t give specific advice but you can take a sample to your County Cooperative Extension Office and have the horticulture agent will be able to diagnosis and offer treatment options. The first step is to find out exactly what is going on with your evergreens. The Breckenridge County offices are located at 1377 S. Hwy 261 in Hardinsburg. The phone number is (270) 756-2182.

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