June 25, 2004

Arborvitae: Versatile Evergreens for the Home Landscape

Arborvitae or white cedars (Thuja occidentalis) are widely planted evergreens in home landscapes, windbreaks, and cemeteries in Iowa. Thuja occidentalis is a dense, pyramidal tree that can grow 30 to 40 feet tall. Its scale-like foliage is borne on flattened, fern-like sprays. The foliage emits an attractive, tansy-like fragrance when bruised or pruned. Arborvitae is Latin for "tree of life."

Arborvitae perform best in moist, well-drained, fertile soils. They can successfully be grown in full sun to partial shade. In heavy shade, arborvitae become loose and open.

Current Problems on Turfgrass

We have received several home lawn samples in the clinic recently, showing a variety of common springtime diseases.

Dollar spot

On a home lawn, dollar spot appears as round, mottled straw-colored spots up to six inches in diameter, which may coalesce into larger patches. Lesions on individual grass blades are light tan with reddish brown margins.

Ascochyta leaf blight