Hedges: Cedar Sabotage??

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by emcreative, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. emcreative

    emcreative New Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm sure there is no shortage of posts about cedar hedges here, so please feel free to point me to another thread, if appropriate.

    In any case, I'm having an issue with my cedar hedges failing to thrive and dying off in large patches chunks.

    To give you some background, I purchased ten 7' Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' from a local grower in early March of last year. They were planted in a large raised bed / box (approximately 24' x 3' x 2') that was filled with garden soil / organic mix from a local nursery. I removed the burlap and made sure to plant them so that the top of the rootball was level with the top of the soil. I added a layer of mulch and was sure to water them regularly throughout the summer so that the dirt stayed moist but not soggy. They are in an area that gets several hours of early morning sun, then dappled shade in the afternoon.

    They seemed to be doing well until the fall. I noticed that they seemed to look a bit pale and not as bushy as they had been. Over the last several months, they have continued to get more and more "threadbare." They seem to be dying from the inside out (ie: they are still green on the outside, but there is a lot of dead material closer to the trunk). From the front, they are still mostly green... however, when I looked around the backside of them today, I noticed that there are large, dead brown patches on about 6 of the 10 trees. See photo attached.

    I had a soil analysis done at a lab few weeks ago and the results were as follows:
    pH 7.1
    EC Salts 1.34 (mmhos/cm)
    OM 11%
    P 135
    K 240
    Ca 4000
    Mg 220

    I'm really stumped as to what could be causing these issues. I am almost wondering if my neighbour has done something to them (inadvertently, I would hope!). The hedge was intended to be a privacy screen, so I'd really like to replace it, but am hesitant to get more cedars unless I can determine what the issue was. Maybe a trellis or some sort of hardscaping would be a better solution.

    Any insight you can provide would be a huge help. Thanks so much in advance!

    Attached Files:

  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Yes, definitely not normal. @Michael F should be able to diagnose when he is available.

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