Cedars are browning!

I bought about 15 cedars 3 weeks ago for a hedge. Initially they looked nice and green. But since planting, I've noticed they're turning brown.
These are white cedars (swamp cedars) and came bare-root (well with a very small root ball). I planted them into a very well amended soil.
I didn't expect transplant shock, since they were already bare-root. In fact they have a much more comfy home now then they did in the garden center!
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By white cedar do you mean Thuja occidentalis or American Arborvitae? And how small a rootball for what size tree? Were they B&B or containerized? What has your weather been like and how well have they been watered? Difficult to address your problem without knowing some details.
pam - gardengal
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Yup, Thuja occidentalis. These are 7 ft tall. They were $12 each and were housed in a large wooden enclosure in the garden center.
Basically, it came with a small root ball (roots and soil) about the size of a soccer ball. It was not contained by a container or burlap or anything, just the soil ball sitting on the ground.
Thanks, Greg US Zone 5 Toronto

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That is a very small root ball for an arborvitae that tall - we sell then in that height range with a root ball 18-24 inches wide and too heavy for a single person to lift. If the place you purchased them from has a return policy, I'd act on it. These will probably not survive the winter.
Considering the fact that I am on the west coast and everything here is more expensive, I sell 7-8' arborvitaes for about $90US. It's a bit trite but true - you get what you pay for.
pam - gardengal

And
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I should add that these have one main branch with very little side branch development. They also sold those bushier, field grown cedars for about the price you mention.
These are sold around my area as bare-root swamp cedars (Grown in a swamp and dug). Pretty popular for hedging due to the low price, and takes a few years to thicken up.
Greg

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I don't know what else to tell you - I have never heard of these grown in a swamp before, as good drainage is typically a requirement for these shrubs. I still think that size rootball is insufficient to support something that large and it is pretty late in the season for them to do much root development before cold weather and frozen soils set in. I would be very skeptical about their survivability
pam - gardengal
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snipped-for-privacy@rogers.com (Greg Miller) wrote:

If the roots were ever allowed to dry out, they are dead. Even bare foot plants need to have the roots kept packed in a moist medium. When I plant bare-root evergreens, I carry them around in a bucket of muddy water when planting them so the roots can't dry out. When they are stored they are packed in moist sphagnum moss which is healed in.
Also, bare-root plants should be bought in the early spring when they are still dormant. Late March to mid-May is the best time to plant bare-root material. Bare-root material should be planted before the buds break and growth begins. Unless you are in the southern hemisphere, I can't imagine that these plants have a chance.
White cedar can be several things, but not a Cedrus (true cedar). Thuja occidentalis is called eastern white cedar or arborvitae or swamp cedar. It is associated with cool, moist, nutrient-rich sites, particularly on organic soils near streams or other drainage-ways, or on calcareous mineral soils. Seedlings develop deep roots in well-drained soil and shallow roots in saturated soil. With age they develop a widespreading root system well adapted to obtain water and nutrients from cracks in rocks.
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