Fertilizer Burn on Emerald Green Arborvitae

Zone zone 6 | LFina added on June 6, 2018 | Answered

Last year, 2 Days after our garden beds were fertilized (liquid) by our tree service company, our arborvitae (and other trees etc) started turning brown. I called them and they said it was impossible for them to have fertilizer burn. Well, I am now faced with ripping out thousands of dollars and spending thousands more to replace them. I cannot tell if it is winter burn or fertilizer burn and if there is anything we can do to save them? Do we wait it out? Do we cut out the brown stems etc? Any advice?

A.Answers to this queston: Add Answer
Answered on June 7, 2018

There are other possibilities for the browning, search "emerald green arborvitae browning". Factors are your geographical location and climate, and soil and water management program. There pest and disease possibilities, "cypress tip miner" and Cercospora blight, a fungal disease. The consulting arborist can help sort this out. You will find pruning information in the recommended internet search, and/or from the consulting arborist.

Was this answer useful?

Answered on June 7, 2018

It is not impossible that this is fertilizer burn, in fact it is quite likely. Chemical fertilizer with a high salt index can cause this, especially if applied with a high concentration tank mix and/or during a period of water deficit/drought stress. The high salts causes desication, drying out of the plant tissues. It appears from the photos that the plants are not dead but have some green foliage, therefore they will likely revive in time, with adequate water and regrowth. You can decide on your tolerance for waiting it out, or if that is not an option for you, then remove and replace.
A local consulting arborist, ISA Certified Arborist or ASCA Registered Arborist can provide site-specific assessment and recommendatons, including a written appraisal of plant values for a loss claim if needed.

Was this answer useful?

Log in or sign up to help answer this question.
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

You must be logged into your account to answer a question.

If you don't have an account sign up for an account now.

Looking for more?
here are more questions about...
Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!

Learn From
Your Peers on
Our Blog

Visit Our Blog

Do you know a lot about gardening?
Become a GKH Gardening Expert

Learn More