Arborvitaes Turning Barren From Bottom Up

Question From: B. Woodruff - Grosse Ile Township, Michigan, United States
Q: I live on an island that is 7 miles long. Two years ago I noticed that the arborvitaes at the south end were barren at the bottom. At first I thought the rabbits had a feast. But the trees continued to die, slowly from the bottom upward, untill they are dead. I observed that most of the arbs around the island were doing the same. Now mine (in varying ages) are starting to do the same. Is it the aftermath of the winter or some disease? What can I do?

A: Deer are the most likely cause. They love arbs and eat whatever they can reach. Winter kill of what is left and possibly spider mites probably did in the rest. A product called PlantSkydd will keep deer away from arbs, but it is not a silver bullet and the product is a blood based liquid. It's available at Westcroft Nursery and online at Amazon. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy