evergreen shrubs - dying

"I have several arborvitaes growing on the back of our yard. This year 4 of them have turned brown and are dying or dead. Last year I had to replace 2 different ones for the same reason. The year before I replaced 2 different ones - again, for the same reason. Could it be because of too much water back there, as my neighbor suggests? What can I do if that is the problem?"
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

Arborvitae is indeed not very tolerant of wet soils. If the damage is occurring over winter, it may be because the soil drains poorly and the roots suffocate. If the drainage on the site can't be improved, you might try installing a berm and growing the trees at the top of the berm to raise their roots out of the wettest soil. Or you could grow another type of plant that better tolerates wet soils. Unfortunately few evergreens tolerate wet soil conditions.


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