Arborvitae Leaves Turning Brown And Dropping

Question From: NEW JERSEY
Q: I have @25 Arborvitae trees around the perimeter of my home. The plants are 6 years old. They have grown wonderful from 5' to 10' over the 6 years. Suddenly I have noticed ALL the Arborvitae's leaves are turning brown and dropping leaves quickly. I have researched & do not know what is wrong. I do not see anything, such as bag worm... but something is harming these. Can you advise or help me please. Note: these are located along the So. New Jersey at the seashore.


Lack of water and or spider mites are most likely the problem. Heat and lack of water have taken a heavy toll on shrubs this summer. Due to high water costs some folks have cut back on watering. Evergreen shrubs do not show signs of drought right way as do deciduous shrubs that wilt when they need water. That said, some folks went crazy and watered daily, drowning the poor things. Mulching the beds with a good organic mulch and making sure the soil remains moist all winter is the best bet. Spider mites attack when plants are overly dry or too wet. But they are gone now. When arbs mature they do loose the inner leaves in fall, but if the tips are browning you've got problems. In very late fall I'd fertilize them with an organic slow release ferttilizer such as Holly Tone by Espoma. Happy Yardening, Nancy