How To Save Dying Arborvitae? Try These 5 Steps Now!

how to save dying arborvitae
how to save dying arborvitae

What are arborvitae trees, how do you take care of them, and how do you keep them from turning brown? These queries pique your interest, don’t they? So let’s learn more about them!

The lush, evergreen leaves of arborvitae make it a popular choice among garden plants. They are, without a doubt, an essential part of the natural world.

Planting many in a row would let the thick, dense foliage quickly fill up and develop into a cozy living fence. Arborvitaes provide great privacy screens and make a lovely backdrop for several other plantings, so homeowners often plant them.

But remember that arborvitaes can also be planted in various ways in formal and informal garden designs.

Given their significance, you might be concerned about common arborvitae issues. Since this tree belongs to the evergreen family, its leaves should always be green.

Find out why if you have noticed that this tree is going brown. Whether or not arborvitae can be saved will depend on how much of it has gone brown and how long the discoloration has lasted. It does not always need to be removed.

What Causes My Tree to Turn Brown?

What Causes My Tree to Turn Brown

An essential first step in preventing arborvitae from turning brown is understanding its cause. The tree is more prone to browning at some times of the year throughout its life.

You will read about a few problems that arborvitae might have in the following paragraphs, along with a few solutions you can try to make things right before any harm is done.

  • Seasonal

Browning is not a cause for concern when it happens due to seasonal change. It could be a seasonal needle decline. Seasonal change causes the color of the needles to alter, which eventually causes seasonal needle drop.

  • Excess-Watering

Arborvitae that are overwatered develop brown coloring and other unsettling problems. How can I tell whether they have received too much water, which is the next thought that comes to mind? The signs of both under- and over-watering your arborvitae may be present.

Branch color changes and needle drop indicate a shift to yellow or brown. More moisture or poor drainage can also contribute to root rot. Your arborvitae is susceptible to fungus and disease in this condition.

The risk of overwatering from rain increases when the soil around your tree is crowded or when the tree is positioned in a low-lying area. Overwatered arborvitae may exhibit wet and drooping leaves in addition to discoloration and dieback.

  • Weather Conditions

Weather Conditions

Arborvitae leaves can turn brown at any time of the year. The color change that occurs in the summertime may be caused by drought.

Winter burn, however, is the most likely reason if your arborvitae plant becomes brown in the winter or early spring. Arborvitae leaves can also become brown due to wind, sun, low weather, and a lack of water.

  • Summers  

How to save brown arborvitae trees in the summer is the most intriguing thought that crosses everyone’s mind. It is not advisable to grow arborvitae trees prone to drought since they can die if completely dried out for even one day.

Therefore, ensure that yours gets at least 1 inch of water every week from rain or a sprinkler system.

  • Transplanting

Transplant shock is the most likely cause of newly planted arborvitae trees wilting, browning, or fading at the tips. This occurs because it often takes a while for roots to reestablish themselves in a new site after being dug up in the nursery.

  • Damaged Roots

Tree roots are responsible for absorbing and transferring water and nutrients from the ground to the rest of the tree’s parts. The amount of water your arborvitae’s roots can transport to the rest of the plant will be impacted if they are damaged for any reason, including digging, rototilling, or animal damage.

  • Fungal Diseases and Pests

Fungal Diseases and Pests

While arborvitae are well-known and adored for being low-maintenance, they are also susceptible to some fungal problems that can turn your arborvitae brown.

How to Save Dying Arborvitae

Although arborvitae can be saved from the conditions that make them brown, they usually don’t turn back into the vibrant green they previously were. But that does not imply that the entire tree cannot be preserved. You need to apply the proper preventive measures.

Now that you know why your arborvitae are browning, let’s move on to the following important query: “How do I make my arborvitae greener again?”

You can keep your plant fresh and green by taking these precautions.

  • Water Your Plants Properly

Water Your Plants Properly

Many older plants need about an inch of water per week, but newly planted trees need more to avoid transplant shock and build their root systems. This one inch of water might have come from rainfall or supplemental irrigation.

The simplest way to track how much water your soil gets is to install a rain gauge in your garden. This can help you determine each week whether the rainfall you received was sufficient or if you need to get the pump out and feed your plants more water.

  • Plant in A Protected Area

Plant in A Protected Area

Arborvitae will have more than enough time to develop a rich root system if they are planted in the early spring. They can then transfer the long overdue water to the leaves, preventing browning. Therefore, spring is said to be the ideal time to plant arborvitae trees.

If you want a correct response to the question “can you save browning arborvitae,” location is another consideration. For healthy growth, appropriate watering facilities should be available.

  • Mulch


Whether young or even older, mature bushes and trees, mulching is undoubtedly the most effective long-term method for maintaining their health. Mulching at the base of the arborvitae will lessen lawnmower damage while preserving soil moisture and improving soil structure.

  • Choose the Right Root Length to Plant

If you transport the plant, put the roots at the proper length below the earth’s surface.

  • Use Fungicides

Use Fungicides

Pruning and removing infected branches and twigs are other treatments for fungal infections in arborvitae, in addition to pesticides. Use a copper insecticide on the plant as a preventative measure in the spring and the early fall.

Are Arborvitae Trees Sun-Loving?

In general, arborvitae trees enjoy a climate with moderate temperatures. This evergreen tree can tolerate little shade but needs around six hours of direct sunlight each day to survive.

Arborvitae trees may grow in various climates if freezing weather doesn’t occur frequently. These trees are common in North America and often grow in zones two through seven.

What Size Can an Arborvitae Reach?

When fully grown, arborvitae trees often reach heights of 40 to 60 feet and span 10 to 15 feet. Generally speaking, arborvitae grows at a modest rate of one to two feet per year and is ideal for creating barriers.

If you purchase them young, these lovely trees are not too pricey and are commonly found in urban locations.

Care Tips

Wrap Your Tree with Burlap:

Wrap Your Tree with Burlap

Burlap is excellent wintertime protection for your arborvitae trees. Burlap is a sturdy, reasonably priced fabric that will shield the tree from the sun when it isn’t getting any water.

The ideal moment to do this is just before the ground begins to freeze. This protective barrier will keep the tree safe when it cannot get water by holding the burlap in place with rope.

After The Ice Melts, Water The Tree:

If you don’t cover your tree in burlap but still want to prevent browning, keep a close check on the ground during the winter. Water, the tree after the snow, has softened. When the soil is loose, water can only reach the roots.

If the ground hasn’t warmed up, it might not be possible. Winter weather may warm up and cause the ground to melt. Take advantage of the thawing to water your arborvitae.

Final Thoughts

Quick action is crucial whether your arborvitae tree has completely turned brown or is just beginning. According to what we discovered, adding fresh mulch will aid in slowing the dying process and, as a result, may help preserve your tree.

No matter where you reside, plant your arborvitae where they will receive enough natural sunshine. Avoid over watering the plant.

Another way to keep browning arborvitae from wilting is to wrap them in a warm blanket to prevent them from getting even colder. We advise taking your tree inside for the winter during the last week of fall if you don’t want to risk experiencing freezing temps.

1 thought on “How To Save Dying Arborvitae? Try These 5 Steps Now!”

  1. Will wild cucumbers Choke the tree out? How prone are these trees to die from sucker trees growing amongst an orchard of arbevitaes?


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