Houzz Logo Print

Are these arborvitae drowning or dying of thirst?

7 years ago
last modified: 7 years ago

I've got a long row of arborvitae that I planted about a year ago. They've all been doing pretty well, up until the last month or so. It's very hot here in the summer (zone 7 - highs in the 90s most days), and we haven't had much rain at all. I've got a soaker hose that I use to water these bushes as needed.

There are about 20 of them that are doing great. They're lush, green, and full. The 5 on the end, though, are all showing signs of problems. The main issue is yellowing leaves (see attached pictures). These were some of the weakest ones when I planted them, but they seem to have done fairly well so far.

I was afraid that, being weak, they simply needed more water than the rest (all of them were getting the same amount). But the yard has a gentle slope downwards towards these 5 bushes, and a couple of them have something of a low spot behind/touching them (hence the dirt behind them in the pictures - trying to level out what could basically be retention ponds). When I really got to looking at it, these bushes should (and apparently do) get more water than all of them that are doing well. So now I'm afraid they're overwatered, or the water is somehow becoming stagnant around them or something.

I did plant them (all 25 of them) a couple inches higher than the surrounding dirt, though, and when I touch the mound that is/was the root ball of the problematic ones, it's definitely dryer than the dirt around it (it's completely dry, the rest of the dirt is dampish). The last time they were watered was about 3 days ago.

So, looking at these pictures, what do you think? Do they need more water? Or is that the last thing they need? Or is there a whole other problem altogether?

If the problem is too much water, what's my solution? Dig a French drain just in front of(/downhill from) these bushes, so there's better drainage and less groundwater?

Comments (14)

Grow Landscapes
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars8 Reviews
Planning Your Outdoor Space in Loundon County?