Would you replace dead part of arborvitae hedge now or wait till spring?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by hornblower, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. hornblower

    hornblower Member

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    This past spring I planted 7 of the Home Depot April sale 6 foot tall 'cedar hedges' which I believe are really thuja occidentalis aka arborvitae.....

    The second from one end is showing new green growth on the bottom 1/3 but the top has been turning greyish green & drying out. Started within 6-8 weeks of planting....It's looking pretty sad now.

    1) Should I try to find a replacement now (late Aug) or leave it until the spring?

    2) When I pull it out, should I toss it or is it worth it to cut it down to a 1/3 and park it in my "ugly plant nursery" to see if it recovers?

    thanks for sharing your wisdom :-)
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Now isn't a good time to plant, so best to wait and see how it does over the next month or so. If it is looking worse then, plant a replacement in October when the weather is cooler and moister.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Field-grown, larger sized 'Smaragd' sold at big boxes here have often been allowed to dry out before purchase by the final consumer. This is likely to be your problem. The field soil rootball dried out at some point along the way - either before you bought it or after - and subsequently resisted re-wetting resulting in eventual death.

    Otherwise you may have a pathogenic infestation on your planting site, that got into the roots of the arborvitaes after planting. Posts asking about browning out of 'Smaragd' hedges, including well-established ones are fairly frequent on the internet.

    Sometimes, during this hot and dry time of the year plant-sucking mites proliferate on these to cause similar fading and browning of crown sections. Not sure I have ever seen an instance of this where a heavily infested portion went completely strong brown and crispy dead, however.
     
  4. tsugajunkie

    tsugajunkie Active Member

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    If you replace it, do it next spring. I don't think you want to pick up a big box store plant at the end of the season...no telling what abuse it has been through. Home Depot will want the bad one if you want an exchange...if you kept the receipt, that is.

    tj
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    This being a mild area fall planting is preferable. CostCo got in some fresh Leyland cypress recently, earlier when they were carrying the 'Smaragd' also I noticed some re-stocking. Home Despot may or may not get in additional specimens later, I don't know. The big display of these and other conifers they had out in the parking lot at one near here has certainly been discontinued at this point.

    Always buy plants in apparent good condition, marked down deteriorated specimens may not be a good investment at all. Plants in poor condition at planting may establish very slowly or fail to establish. If such purchases do malinger or die you have then thrown away the time and money spent on acquiring and installing them, even if you are able to take them back and get a refund or credit.
     
  6. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I've had good luck returning things to Home Depot. If you paid with a credit or debit card, they can swipe that to bring up a record of all your purchases, so you don't need a receipt.
     
  7. hornblower

    hornblower Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    These were sacrificial lambs anyway - they're planted along a part of my dog run. :-) That's partly why I decided to go with a low cost option; I really wasn't sure whether they'd survive there at all.

    And if it was an end one, I'd think it was a dog peeing on it but I watch my dogs carefully - they're only allowed under supervision because one is new to me & might be a fence jumper - and neither one pees anywhere near that part of the hedge. And the rest of them are doing very well.

    Ron B - thanks for mentioning the possibility of mites. I'm going to check that plant carefully. It did kind of develop a greyish tinge at the top and it's been drying very slowly. It's still not crispy brown - more a very dull washed out army green. Some of the pix I saw online looked a similar.

    And I do have my HD receipt - kept it for the home improvement tax rebate thingy :-)
     
  8. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Every time I'm asked to plant arborvitae, I ask if the homeowners can wait for autumn, like the first of October when weather cools.

    Many arborvitae sold in this area, have a fairly hefty volume of canopy and a proportionately small rootball, which makes summer planting a challenge.
     

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