brown gutted arborvitae

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Big Bad Bob, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    Last June I planted these arborvitae for this client. They looked good until August. Actually they still look good on the exterior except for one that has a bit of freeze damage on the east side.
    In early August the customer (also a mowing client) pointed out that the interior of the plants were browning. You have to actually open the plant to see the browning. We decided to wait out the winter to see what spring brought. They actually look pretty much the same now as they did in August. The customer wants them replaced because they are now selling the house.
    I have posted pics at the following website .
    I see no evidence of insects and have never seen arborvitae do this before. Any ideas?
  2. hoyboy

    hoyboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 346

    It is common for arborvitae to die out in the interior of the plant. This is not a's part of their growth cycle. The customer needs to be educated on a google search and send it to him. Otherwise, he'll never believe you.
  3. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 502

    Ditto. You don't need to worry about them unless you see the outside of the plants turning a dull green or starting to wilt.
  4. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    That is common. It is reaction to moisture stress. When a plant is moisture stressed, such as after transplanting, it will react by shedding some of its older foliage which would be at the center of the plant. The inner foliage will also turn brown on established plants as part of the normal aging process. As the plant expands in size the inner foliage is shaded and no longer receives enough sunlight to efficiently perform photosynthesis. As a result the plant sheds the leaves. The shrubs in your picture look fine. The one photo showing some brown on the outer edge almost looks like animal urine damage.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    If the internal leaves haven't dropped yet. Spray 'em green for the house showing.
    They are not dead, but the die back in last year's drought was extensive for new arbs. You should not be expected to foot the bill for new ones.
  6. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    die back on the interior is normal.

    replacing them is going to be your call. If this was my client, I'd replace them, but this wouldn't count as being covered under warranty as its not actually dead.
  7. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Evergreens lose leaves in the fall, just not that years growth. Some lose second years growth, but others lose third year leaves. They also self prune by shutting down areas that do not get enough sun to produce more energy than they consume (like the interior of the plant).
  8. greg1

    greg1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 139

  9. pj550v12

    pj550v12 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    I'm experiencing the same thing with some I planted at my house last year, almost the same story word for word, but I am even starting to experience small spots of brown coming to the outer layer. I'm fairly confident it is transplant shock, but is there anything I can do to help promote new growth. Even though they are drought tollerant, I was concerned they perhaps had not been getting enough water so I've been watering more. Again, I know what I'm experiencing is comon for the plant, but like I said, what would you recomend to promote new healthy growth?
  10. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    Don't over water. That can cause the browning too.

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