The arborvitae I planted a year ago are very brown right now. The inner branches are very green but the outer branches are brown/rust colored. Is this normal or should I be concerned?

Probably desiccation from winter.  Make sure to water in fall if we have another dry fall like we did last year.  Once they are better established, they will winter better.  Get some Tree-tone food into the soil asap and they should bounce back over the summer.

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