Arborvitaes are plants that flourish in the crisp, cold environments found in the northern hemisphere. If you have them in your lawn, there is a good chance you will need to trim them at some point. The plants grow quickly to tall heights with thick, evergreen foliage. Arborvitaes work well to create hedges and windbreaks, and they also provide an attractive alternative to more expensive manmade structures. You will find it necessary to trim and shape your arborvitaes on a regular basis to maintain their shape, health and appearance.
You should not trim your arborvitaes until they reach maturity. Trim your arborvitae once it has fully matured to be about 15 feet tall and around four feet wide. In addition to waiting until the tree is mature, you will want to trim your tree for the first time in the late spring or early summer. After the first time you trim your arborvitae in the early summer, you should start to trim your arborvitae again at the end of the summer. Late August is a good time to trim your arborvitae for the second time. After your first round of trimming, you will want to trim your arborvitae every two months during the grow season. The grow season in cooler climates, where the arborvitae typically grow, usually lasts from mid-March to mid-October.
As you trim, you will want to prune away the outer branches of your arborvitae with pruning shears. You may need to stand on a ladder to reach the taller branches. Clearing away the outer branches will expose the inner branches of the arborvitae to sunlight and give you thicker foliage as the inner branches start to grow.
In addition to cutting away the outer branches, you will want to maintain and trim the height of your arborvitae. Before you trim down the height of your arborvitae, you will need to decide the exact height you would like the plant to maintain. Pick the desired height of your arborvitae and trim the top branches of the arborvitae to this height. Keep in mind that you will not want to trim too much off the top of your plant. It’s better for your arborvitae if you cut it to your desired height the moment it grows an inch or two over your desired height. Cutting off a large amount of branches from the top can weaken your plant. Cutting less from the top of your arborvitae will give you stronger and healthier upper branches.
Trimming your arborvitae can be an enjoyable process. The evergreen foliage of the arborvitaes resembles a scaly fan. Anytime the foliage, or needle, is cut or damaged, it will give off a citrus scent. You will find that you are surrounded by a pleasing citrus smells as you prune and trim your arborvitae.
As your arborvitae reaches about three to four years of age, you can expect the plant to shed its foliage. After the plant sheds its foliage, new and healthy foliage will grow in its place and you will need to start your trimming schedule again.