Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Don't panic...it's normal!

I write this as a community service. For all you garden owners who are panicking about the brown interior leaves on your arborvitae (Thuja plicata) and for all you gardeners, whose clients are panicking about the brown interior leaves on your arborvitae: "Don't panic, it's normal!"

Just because a tree is evergreen doesn't mean all its leaves will stay green for ever. Arborvitae can lose almost 1/3 of their interior leaves every year, usually in fall. The official name for this dread condition: needle drop!

There, don't you feel better now that you know what it's called? (I know I do.) And what I really hope is that now you know it's a normal part of the growth process for this tree (as long as it's the interior needles, not the growing tips!), you won't
1) call me at all hours of the day or night, asking me to come over and look at your trees RIGHT AWAY!!!
2) send me multiple emails swearing your trees are dying
3) rip down the morning glories I planted at the base of your arborvitae which have finally climbed all the way up and now look really cool, because you think the tiny annual vine is choking your 15 foot tall evergreen tree. Because it isn't.


Think of this as the molting season for arborvitae. It'll all be over in a few weeks, so pour yourself a drink and give your gardener a break. Believe me, she cares about those trees as much as you do and if there's something wrong, she promises to let you know.

(me, the dedicated gardener, inspecting trees in inclement weather wearing a sporty garbage bag rain coat and tenegui bandana)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always knew you were the height of fashion but now we have photo proof!

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