Arborvitae require more TLC than what you might think.

There are several species of arborvitae used in our Michigan landscapes. Mission, green giant, globe, upright, green mountain and the list goes on. This evergreen shrub is used extensively for screening, hedge rows or as accent plantings. In the tri-county area, arborvitaes are planted everywhere and in every location possible. What you may not know is that this shrub is not planted and grown without some level of health risk and care needs.

The first things we often encounter when called to look at ill looking arborvitae is that they have been planted in the wrong location (health wise) and/or have been planted to close to each other. Arborvitaes require a good root ball and good root zone drainage. So, if the planting site has not been prepped correctly or if they’re growing to closely together (although they may look good for a few years) in time your once beautiful evergreens will being to fade. Planting and growing arborvitae in the right location is very important to their long term health.

Do you want to take a guess as to how many insect and disease threats there are to arborvitae? In our service area, there are twelve major threats. Some of the threats you may know while others you may have never heard of. Here are some of the greater issues arborvitae face in your yard:

• Spider Mites
• Aphids
• Powdery Mildew
• Leaf Miner
• Tip Blight
• Phomopsis Twig Blight
• Phytophthora Root Rot
• Stem Cankers
• Kabatina Twig Blight
• Root Rot (such as Armillaria)
• Bark Beetles

Let us not forget that sun scorch is also a major challenge! Winter prep is very important for long term beauty and health of any arborvitae. Most species enjoy 75% or more of sunlight. They also need to be properly trimmed. Don’t forget that arborvitae also enjoys lots of food and thus need to be reviewed for fertilizer needs on an as needed or annual basis.

I know you thought they would take care of themselves, right? But when they start turning brown on the tips or yellow on the inside, thinning in the middle or when the needles start to dropping in bucket loads by the end of July, you the realize and say, “What the heck is going on with these shrubs”.

Proactive Plant Health Care services and scouting will help keep your arborvitae looking and feeling healthy for years to come. TLC for your arborvitae is well worth it!

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