What is happening to my Arborvitaes?

spole2014May 10, 2014

I planted a number of Thuja Green Giants last spring - two didn't make it, but three seem to be thriving. They grew up and out substantially before the winter, and now that it's starting to warm up they are filling in nicely.

But, on all of them they are noticeably discolored. Some worse than others, but all have a reddish color on a lot of the lower, inner branches. Along with that there seems to be a number of dead spots, and even black patches. They seem to be growing in spite of this.

I live in northern Ohio, it's been a very wet spring, and they are at the top of a hill so pretty good drainage. I do have a male cat on my property, but could it spraying these cause this much damage? Or could this be some kind of fungus or disease? Thanks for your help!

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Closeup of some of the black spots

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:45AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

winter damage ... wait and see how it starts growing.. if it will ever warm up enough ... i am just north of the OH border.. and spring is very late this year ... i am watching about a dozen arbs with the same look ...


    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 11:54AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Should be OK. Perhaps not surprising for GGs not yet fully established after a bad winter & frozen ground. I see some nearby, recently planted Leyland cypresses that are toast.

One of my 9 GGs outright died -- 9 yrs old. Others are fine. Can't explain it other than winter cold/winds.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:30AM
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Thanks both of you - that's at least reassuring that it's not something worse. I wasn't here for the winter but all those subzero days can't be good for any living thing. A side question - is pruning out some of the worse looking spots a good idea or just leave it alone?
Good luck with your trees too, I will wait and see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 7:50PM
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By all means, prune out the brown/blackened dead growth (which I agree is probably winter-kill in young, susceptible trees). It sounds like they are doing OK otherwise.

I have had minor dieback/deer damage in previous years in my large boundary Green Giant planting (which went in about 9 years ago). They came through our 2013-14 harsh winter (many subzero lows, the lowest of which was -19F) without any noticeable damage.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:21PM
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If the tops put out more growth, I would'nt worry. I have a few that are questionable, the tops look brown/bad also, on mine.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 8:15PM
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