I have two evergreen tree... #217067 - Ask Extension


I have two evergreen tree... #217067

Asked October 15, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

I have two evergreen trees at the front corners of my house. I have noticed that all of the same kind of trees in the neighborhood are starting to die. It starts at one limb and it slowly spreads to the other limbs. I tried cutting limbs off but it didn't help. The trees are about 12 - 15ft tall. I first noticed the problem in my neighbors tree about 3/4 of the way up the tree.

Baltimore County Maryland

Expert Response

The tree in the photo looks like an arborvitae. There may be several possible causes for the browning.  Look along the branch or branches back to the trunk and make sure there was no physical damage to the branch.
Also, look along the branches and trunk for small insect holes on the arborvitae. There is a new invasive pest called the japanese cedar long horned beetle that can cause branch dieback and browning http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/invasives/japanese-cedar-longhorned-beetle
If you see this damage,  all you can do is prune and dispose of infected branches. Keep the trees healthy by watering during dry periods.
There are other neighbors who have the same trees but their trees are completely dead or heading in that direction.  I have pruned infected parts previously.  The area pruned now looks like an empty spot.
The Question Asker Replied October 16, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Sometimes trees can slowly fill in.  Sometimes you can gently bend branches to disguise the empty spot, tying branches into place with a torn sheet or other wide cloth.  Do not use a wire since that could cut into the branches.  If you are unsatisfied with its appearance, you may have to replace it.  There are many things that can damage or kill arborvitae.  What is killing your neighbor's arborvitae may not affect yours.  Monitor your plants for evidence of problems.  "A stitch in time can save nine" applies to gardening.  vw

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