Why Is My Arborvitae Turning Yellow?

by | Aug 1, 2021 | Care | 0 comments

Arborvitae trees are large coniferous plants that derive from the plant family, Cupressaceae. These arboreal plants can be found in many parts of Canada and America, where they do well with little water or soil due to their natural adaptation as a pioneer species.

Arborvitae trees are very popular for people that live in cold climates and want a tree that will survive the winter. They offer many benefits, such as being drought tolerant, having great soil erosion control abilities, and being able to grow well in compacted soils.

However, one issue with them is they can turn yellow or brown during the fall season. To learn more about this problem and how you can prevent it next year from happening again, please do continue reading!

Why Is My Arborvitae Turning Yellow?

The most likely reason why your arborvitae turning yellow is due to being in a stressful environment. This means the key to keeping your plant healthy is to provide everything it needs. Consider the following when wanting to keep your arborvitae green and luscious:

1. Not enough water

Although tolerant to dry conditions, arborvitae types should be watered at least once a week. Consider measuring the soil with your finger and if it feels dry, water your plant immediately. If your plant has been underwatered, it’s time to get out the hose and spray away! Your arborvitae might need a good soaking for several minutes before it can be on the road to recovery.

2. Not enough sunlight

This can also lead to yellow or brown leaves since when there is not enough light available for photosynthesis, the chlorophyll will start breaking down in order to support the plant.

To ensure your arborvitae has enough light, place it in a sunny spot or consider adding sun lamps (Amazon link) that will provide more warmth for your tree to thrive in.

3. Compacted soil

Arborvitae trees need at least six inches of space between their roots and other objects such as rocks so they can grow properly. Look at the roots and see if they feel confined in any way or are growing into rocks, then remove them to give your tree more space.

4. Lack of nutrients

If you have a healthy plant, there are many different types of nutrients that it needs to grow properly. One type is nitrogen and if not enough is available, the leaves will turn yellow or brown because they can’t carry out their functions.

To fix this problem, add in fertilizers which provide nitrogen as one of its key nutrients. Other nutrients include potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

The soil’s pH levels should be maintained optimally for healthy plant growth. Testing the pH can determine what nutrients are missing from your garden plot so you know how to supplement it accordingly.

Foliar sprays with iron chelate can correct any deficiency of this important mineral, which is often a cause for issues like yellowing pines.

5. Pests

Some pests that can harm your arborvitae are slugs, snails, and mealy bugs. All of these will leave their residue on the leaves which causes them to turn yellow or brown.

To prevent this from happening, use any type of pesticide available at a gardening store nearby, such as Neem oil spray or pyrethrin spray.

6. Chemical damage

Arborvitae trees are very sensitive to chemicals which is why they should be used with caution when near the plant. If you use any type of chemical in your yard, make sure it’s a few feet away from where your tree grows so as not to cause any harm!

7. The shock from being moved

The shock of being moved from its original location can also lead to arborvitae leaves turning yellow or brown. This is because it may be in a different light, soil conditions, and humidity levels, which will stress the plant out too much!

8. Disease

The last possibility for why your arborvitae is turning yellow or brown is due to a disease. It’s important that you take any plant seriously if it has leaves with dark spots, dryness in the soil, or discolored foliage.

It’s best to use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut off any diseased areas. But if you’re really concerned, contact a certified nursery nearby and have them inspect your plant thoroughly to see what the issue may be.

How to Stop Arborvitae Turning Yellow?

The best way to keep your arborvitae from turning yellow is by giving it the right amount of water. You should be watering up to 1 inch weekly unless you live in a place with lots of rain.

You may need to water your plant more if it has recently been planted. Otherwise, you can wait until every other week or so for watering depending on weather conditions and what type of soil is being used.

The next time your plant has a pest infestation, you should cut and dispose of the infected parts. This will help reduce any damage going forward, but it is not enough for treatment alone – you can also apply neem oil to prevent further problems from happening.

Fertilizer is essential to the health of a plant. If there are not enough nutrients available, use fertilizer and nutrient sprays to promote growth and keep your plants happy!

The plant needs at least six hours of direct sunlight a day to stay green and luscious. This is why it’s important not to block any sun rays if the area where the plant was placed has curtains or blinds, and also make sure that there are no leaves blocking its way.


In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of the different reasons why your arborvitae could turn yellow or brown. If you are experiencing any of these problems, make sure to fix them as soon as possible and give yourself time for the plant to grow back!

Hi. I am Aaron, the new owner of PlantCarer! I hope you enjoy the content. Please do message me with any questions or comments you may have.

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