What to Do WhenThuja Arborvitae Cedar Are Not Growing
Simplified, but generally true:
If trees are dead, not enough water (95%?) or too much water (5%?)
If trees planted longer than a year ago are not growing, not enough fertilizer (95%?) or other causes (5%?)
We probably all agree that all simplification carries a seed of incorrectness. I.e. a tree may very well be sick, yet a strong healthy tree which receives plenty of nutrition, sun and water should generally beat most diseases.
When a tree is not growing and sun or at least partial sun lasting for a half a day is present and it receives plenty of water but not the type that stand around at the base of the tree for weeks, generally a lack of sufficient fertilizing is the prime suspect. Especially so if the above conditions are met, yet the tree leaves are lime or light green.
Green Giant and American Pillar Arborvitae as well as Murray and Leyland Cypress can pack on 3-4’ of growth a year. This 36-48” growth is often realized from June to October. These fast growing evergreens tolerate and for optimum growth even demand nutrition levels which can support their rapid growth.
A fistful of 10-10-10 or similar fertilizer at the base of arborvitae 4x a year is safe for the first year of the tree after planting. The following year higher doses or more frequent application is safe as the tree has roots running in all directions although still primarily saturating the top 8-10” of the ground. More frequent fertilizing and using the method of throwing a firstful around the base of the tree is probably safer than using a spreader.
If the fast growing young Arborvitae or Cypress varieties are not packing on the expected annual growth, investigating the fertilizing schedule should be the first step.
Happy new growth of a Leyland Cypress in early August, Lexington KY
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