Big mistake with arborvitaes

nocturnalMay 1, 2014

I have two arborvitaes on either side of my Garage, and though they are 6 foot tall and growing, one of them was getting slightly copper/brown in color. After having a casual discussion with my neighbor, I thought of putting one Miracle Gro evergreen spikes. Biggest mistake. Now, both of my trees are about 60% brown within 2 weeks of putting those spikes down.

Anyone has any idea what happened here, or anyone who has used these damaging spikes with different experience?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

spikes are useless... and most likely have nothing to do with the browning.. especially that fast ...

without pix.. i can speculate no further ...


ps: your neighbor is a conifer/tree idiot.. what made you think they knew anything about conifers.. trees.. or fertilizer spikes???? lol .. crikey man.. thank God you found us ....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Thanks, Ken. I trusted my neighbor because he is more than twice as old as me, does a great job in maintaining his trees and lawn, and also worked in nursery years back. I trusted his advice, because he said he use these spikes every year and I see his trees are doing good. Probably something else, but the sudden change in color is making thinking about what different I did.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 7:07PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

The warmer it gets, the quicker winter damaged conifers show the damage.

One rule of thumb- don't fertilize stressed trees. If you want to use spikes, crush them and spread the ferts around.

Really need a pic or two.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 6:14AM
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As you may have picked up on, we're not the biggest advocates here on this forum of placing concentrated fertilizer salts into little, discreet areas of a plant's rooting zone! For my part, I just want to cry-or maybe laugh hysterically-every time I see reference to these things. Now, my grandmother was a great gardenenr and she always wondered too if these spikes were the way to go. Heck, even then when I was a kid, I guess I intuitively knew they were completely bogus.

If you would want to fertilize trees and/or shrubs-and I don't think you should want to at this point-a simple over-the-top spreading of any average material is all that's needed. Few folks seem to know it but the feeder roots of a tree's root system are typcially pointed upward, just below grade, oriented that way to facilitate absorption of whatever nutrients may be present.

But that's not your problem. Likely winter injury which, as has already been mentioned, shows up rapidly in warming weather. No, there's nothing to be done. If the plant(s) looks like it's battling back later this growing season, watch that it doesn't get too dry for it. But if you're having normal rainfall, it won't need supplemental watering. Not sure where you're at, but many sections of the country are well supplied with moisture right now, much of the west being an obvious exception.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 8:53AM
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