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Arborvitae, Junipers Dying

14 years ago

Hello, I have a hedgerow of 20 Emerald Arborvitaes that have been getting brown over the past year or so. The problem now is that they are almost all 90% brown (they turned brown from the outside (not the natural shedding from the inside).

They were planted in 2003 at 6 ft high and are now about 10 ft high. Up until last year they were fine; we Holly Tone in the Spring and water when there is not enough rain (many other people around here have had dead Emeralds all the time). They were planted correctly, in full sun.

Last Spring (2009) they did suffer what we thought was winter damage, because we had not sprayed Wilt-Pruf the previous fall. We fed them and watered well, but they never completely recovered. Last fall they were sprayed with Wilt-Pruf, but over the past few weeks they have just gone completely downhill.

We had a horrible Winter with record snowfall and we have had record rainfall this Spring.

My tree service thinks it is Leafminer, I think it may be Juniper Scale as well.

I looked closely at the hedges, and they are so far gone that I cannot tell exactly what it is. On the trunks I found a couple of smooth bumps that could be scale insects. I was able to pick them off, and they feel like scale insects, but they could just be bark bumps, since a little hole was left when I removed the bump (the scale insects I rubbed off my Redbud last year didn't leave holes).

I have 4 more Emeralds against a shed in the backyard, and they are getting brown as well. They are not as bad, and some of the brown has a white hue, so it could be Leafminers.

My real problem here is that I just checked my Wichita Blue Junipers and my Chamaecyparis' and I think they are getting brown too. The Hinokis always get brown on the inside in winter, but they had already started to blue up over the past few weeks, but today I noticed that there are a lot more brown branches and needles (Blue Boulevards), and my Lemon Thread has a brown branch as well.

My 2 Junipers are going downhill. One was just planted a few weeks ago, so it may just be shock, especially with all the rain (it's more pink than brown, but the needles feel dry). But the other was one I had transplanted last year - I lost a lot of roots, so it struggled last year, but over the past month it began thriving - coming back with all new growth (albeit green?). But today I noticed that it is now getting brown at the bottom. It's weird because the top still looks good (the tips of the new growth even have a fresh blue tinge), but I can see that the bottom is more brown than a week or so ago.

My questions are as follows:

1: What do you think this is?

2: What should I do? I can spray Schult'z Organic fungicide / insecticide (neem oil), and I also have a bottle of Sevin (I've never used this before).

3: If the hedges are 90% brown, will they come back to life? They were fed with Holly Tone a couple weeks ago, but it didn't do anything. I fear that they are a lost cause. Do Emerald Arborvitaes come back?

4: If the hedges will not come back I do not want to waste money spraying them, but will that be ok if I spray all the other shrubs?

5: What is a good replacement for Emerald Arborvitaes? Personally, I HATE them! They look great when they are perfectly green, but horrible otherwise.

I need something that stays 3 ft wide and gets at least 15 ft. tall. My neighbor's driveway is right next to my hedges, and I have a path and raised beds on my side, so I have no more space to give to the hedges. I cannot and WILL NOT trim the hedges (these were planted to replace old privets). They MUST be evergreen.

I'd like either Junipers or even a fastigiat broadleaf evergreen (Skypencil Holly is TOO small). I know about Skyrocket Juniper, but I'd really, really prefer something green for a hedge that long. Dwarf Albertas are no good either - we have them on the other side along my neighbor's garden and even at over 6 ft high the shape provides no privacy from cars coming down the street (although they do look good and I know what spider mites look like and how to deal with them).

Oh yeah, they must be COLD HARDY!!!

Honestly, the tree service came and looked and left a checklist of what is needed. They said spray for Leafminers with garlic oil ($250 - $125 now and another spray in May), and then something about spraying my trees with petroleum oil (I will let no one near my trees!!!); however it lists petroleum oil for scale, and that would also be $250 for 2 applications. That is $500 just to spray. Then they claim that they must "deep root fertilize" the hedges for another $125. Yeah, um, Emeralds have shallow roots.

If I'm out $1000 worth of hedges I'm most certainly not paying this. In fact, I'm seriously considering breaking code and extending my fence along my neighbor's driveway and planting a few fastigiata White English Oaks for privacy most of the year with a few Junipers near the street. At least fences don't die and I can plant some espallier apples and pears along it. Screw codes man! Perhaps an all-lattice fence won't count?

Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice.

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