When planted in the ground, arborvitae trees look like they are trying to stand up and grow—which they do! If you keep your arborvitae trees well-maintained, they might even grow high enough to resemble a small tree. However, when you see an arborvitae tree that looks almost stunted and wilting, it probably means you have one that is turning brown. Arborvitae trees are not common in yards because of their need for acidic soil. Yet homeowners plant them anyway because of their beautiful evergreen appearance. The trouble comes when homeowners don’t know how to take care of their new arborvitae trees so that they won’t turn brown or yellow. If this has happened to you, read on for some great advice.
Why Are My Arborvitae Turning Brown?
Arborvitae is evergreen plants that can turn brown if they are kept in too much sun, not enough water, or if the soil is not rich enough. If your arborvitae is turning brown, try to provide more water and less sun. If this does not work, you may need to repot the plant into a new container with fresh potting soil.
What Causes Arborvitae Trees To Turn Brown?
Arborvitae trees do not like to be in direct sunlight. If they are kept in full sun, their leaves will turn brown. To keep your arborvitae tree healthy, try to place it in a part of your yard that receives only partial sunlight. This will prevent the leaves from drying out and turning brown.
If you are not watering your arborvitae tree enough, the roots may dry out and the leaves will begin to wither and turn brown. Arborvitae trees need about 1 inch of water every week during the spring and summer months. Try watering them more often than this to keep them healthy and green!
3. Windy Weather
Arborvitae trees do not like windy weather either—which is yet another reason why they should be planted in partial sunlight! If there is too much wind blowing on the leaves of your arborvitae tree, it may cause them to dry out or turn brown. When you see a lot of wind blowing on your arborvitae tree, try planting it somewhere else that is sheltered from strong winds or build a fence around it so that it can’t be blown over by strong winds!
Arborvitae trees need to be planted in a soil that is acidic and rich in nutrients. If your arborvitae tree is not growing well, it may be because the soil is too alkaline. To fix this, add some peat moss or pine bark dust around the tree’s roots. If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, you can also use compost to help balance out the pH levels of the soil.
When your arborvitae tree needs water, give it enough water so that its roots are moist. However, if you keep giving your arborvitae tree too much water, it may rot and cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off! Check the soil around your arborvitae every few days to see if it is dry or moist (like a wrung-out sponge) before watering again!
How Can I Stop My Arborvitae From Turning Brown?
If you have an arborvitae tree that is turning brown, it may be because the roots of the tree are rotting. To fix this, you will need to repot your arborvitae tree into a fresh container with fresh potting soil. For detailed instructions on how to do this, check out our How to Repot a Plant article!
If your arborvitae tree has been planted in the same spot for several years and is still turning brown, it is time to prune it! Arborvitae trees should be pruned every year or two so that they can grow healthy new leaves. Check out our How to Prune a Tree article for more information on how to prune your arborvitae tree!
Arborvitae trees like mulch around their roots—but not too much mulch! If there is too much mulch around your arborvitae’s roots, it may cause them to rot and turn brown. It’s best if you only put about 1-2 inches of mulch around the base of your arborvitae’s trunk. If there is too much mulch, try raking some of it away from under the tree’s trunk and branches so that air can circulate around its roots.
You should water your arborvitae tree when the topsoil is dry. If you water your arborvitae too much, the leaves will turn brown and fall off! If you don’t water your arborvitae enough, its leaves may turn brown and fall off! Make sure that there is a good balance between watering and not watering your arborvitae tree.
If you love your arborvitae tree, it’s time to fertilize it! Arborvitae trees need to be fertilized every year so they can grow new leaves and branches. Check out our How to Fertilize a Plant article for more information on how to fertilize an arborvitae tree!
When Should You Discard A Browning Arborvitae Tree?
1. It Has a Hole in the Trunk
If your arborvitae tree has a noticeable hole in its trunk, you should discard it. This is a sign that the tree is rotting and if you don’t discard it, it will continue to rot until there is no more life left in the tree!
2. It Has No Leaves
If your arborvitae tree loses all of its leaves and branches, you should discard it. This means that the roots of your arborvitae tree have rotted away and there is nothing left to support new leaves or branches. If you didn’t repot your arborvitae tree when we told you too, this is probably why your leaves are falling off!
3. It Is Too Small or Too Big
Arborvitae trees are usually purchased at container stores when they are about 1-2 feet tall. If your arborvitae has grown too big for its pot, you may want to discard it (along with its pot). Arborvitae trees can grow up to 4 feet tall so if yours reaches this height before you have repotted it, get rid of it! If yours shrinks down to a tiny size after being planted outside for several years—you may want to get rid of it too!
4. It Has Died Back on One Side
If one side of an arborvitae tree has died, you should discard it. This is a sign that the tree has been damaged and you don’t want to keep it around because it may attract pests or disease!
Tips For Maintaining An Arborvitae
1. Cut it Back
If you are not sure how tall your arborvitae is, cut it back to about 8 inches from the ground. Cutting your arborvitae back will encourage new growth and help to keep it healthy.
2. Water It
You should water your arborvitae tree every week or two so that it doesn’t dry out. Arborvitae trees seem to like a lot of water so don’t skip watering them!
3. Prune It
You should prune the branches on your arborvitae tree in the spring and again in the fall so that they don’t get too big and start to shade out other plants.
4. Mulch It
Mulching helps keep weeds down, keeps soil warm for roots, and keeps soil moist for roots! You can use a weed-free mulch like pine needles or bark chips around the base of your arborvitae tree because they help absorb rainwater, hold moisture, and prevent weeds from getting started at all!
5. Prune It Again!
After you prune an arborvitae tree branch, wait 2 weeks before cutting it again so that you can let new growth grow back on top of the old branch first! You can also cut off dead branches in order to create more room for new growth by cutting them off at ground level with a saw instead of
Arborvitae trees are beautiful evergreen plants that thrive in shady areas. However, these trees can also be very finicky and will die when overwatered or planted in the wrong type of soil. If your arborvitae trees are turning brown, you might have a few issues that you need to address. Take care of your arborvitae trees by making sure they have just the right amount of water and sunlight. You can also make sure your soil is the right pH and contains the right amount of nutrients by testing it with a pH meter. With a little bit of maintenance, you can keep your arborvitae trees looking their best.