Arbor vitae failing to thrive

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by hisenthlay, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    I got a few arbor vitae trees at Home Depot, and they seem to be struggling. The foliage closest to the ground is dying and turning brown. Are they just too dry? What could be the problem?

    I actually planted two in the middle of August, when we were having a big dry spell. One did ok, but one came from the store with some brown on the bottom already, and within a month it was totally and completely dead and brown. I tried to keep it watered, but I know it was dry a fair amount of the time. So, I replaced that one with a new healthy looking one in the middle of September, and now the new one is starting to get brown on the bottom, too. It hasn't been too hot or dry, and all of my other plants are plenty healthy, including some young hostas I planted that same day in September, and they aren't getting any more water than the tree.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. omnicat

    omnicat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    514
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    Water is indeed the issue.

    Those plants need consistent water. And August is not the best time to plant them. Terrible, actually, since it's often so dry.

    They need plenty of deep, gentle watering. Put the hose on a drip, and leave it on each plant for 1-2 hours. Standing and watering is not as effective, since a lot of water quickly will go ingot the surrounding soil (or over the top of the ground, rather than in into the rootball.

    If there's no rain, I would deep-water with a drip at least once a week under frost, and again next year during the dry spells, unitl they get established.

    The ones that have some browning may recover nicely next spring when it sends out new growth. You'll have to wait and see.
     

  3. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    Thanks, omnicat. That's what I get for buying plants at end-of-season clearances, I guess. :shrug: At least HD offers a money-back guarantee for their plants. I'll see if I can set up a drip system for them. I did usually water them just by standing there with the hose for a few minutes, since I don't have a soaker or drip system. Hopefully they'll recover with some better care! :eek:
     
  4. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    A cheap watering system for a few plants or trees would be a plastic 5 gallon bucket with a couple small holes drilled in the bottom at one side. Set it close to the plant and keep it full of water every day.
     
  5. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    Location:
    just west of Houston Texas
    Good idea uncle Will.
     
  6. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

    Messages:
    2,024
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Location:
    Southwestern PA
    That's a great idea, and I have a few 5 gallon pails sitting around that have been waiting for a job. Thanks!