Question From: Empire, Michigan, United States
Q: I live in Northern Michigan right by Lake Michigan and mother planted 10 Arborvitae in double rows next to a tall 16 foot long privacy fence. The next door neighbors keep their house in a sad state and have done some vindictive things over the years. The trees were planted in June and one died in september and was redone in November without a problem. They then flourished into December but then all of a sudden they all died instantly without any real warning. My neighbors have made it clear that they dislike the privacy fence and we caught them stealing our internet and cable. My parents, along with our neighborhood association, planted a bunch of small trees of a different kind along the road behind the houses and they have done perfectly; except for the one that my neighbors purposely ran over as they want to park 4 cars and a boat behind their home. After everything they have done and especially with how the wife acts, I am worried they they may have purposely killed our trees. Luckily the store we bought the trees from will return our money (400$) or replant everything. Is it possible they were poisoned or anything of the sort? My mother was thinking of having the soil tested as I've read that Arborvitae are pretty tough trees and shouldn't die that easily and all at once. Could it be from something else such as the cold, even though it was a mild winter, or am I just thinking something bad due to other things that have happened?
Natalie, I recommend you get an onsite inspection from a certified arborist in your area. They can get the soil tested by specialists to rule out poisoning. Lack of water or too much water will kill arbs, but this happens over time. Sudden death, especially in winter when the trees are dormant is indeed unusual. To find a professional in your area go to www.tcia.org and enter your zip code. Best Nancy