When To Prune Arborvitae

By Joseph Boyle , last updated May 14, 2011

If you have arborvitae in your and since it can grow to such a large size (Arborvitae can grow easily to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide), it is important to know proper pruning practices in order to maintain the shape and appearance you desire and to prevent it from growing out of control. For many species of arborvitae, it is possible that you will not need to do any pruning, unless you want to alter the visual appearance of the tree, or limit the height it can grow to. In general, the overall purpose of pruning is to remove diseased, dead or dying branches, or to allow airflow and sunlight to reach inner portions of the tree. Following are a few tips on the best pruning methods, to keep your arborvitae beautiful, strong and healthy.

In order to ensure a healthy trunk that can support all its branches, it can be essential to prune properly when the tree is young. When the tree is young, the base will often be quite full with thin or sparse new growth happening at the top. This top growth will be the area that will require the most pruning. By pruning the thin growth at the top, you will allow the trunk to grow much stronger. As it grows older, you should also prune out any branches that extend beyond the natural border of the tree. Beyond this early pruning, it is likely that most of the pruning for your arborvitae will be merely ornamental, for visual appeal. The only other possibility is if your arborvitae is overgrown or weak, it can be beneficial to severely prune it back. This may rejuvenate your plant, allowing it to create significant new growth, unhindered by old growth.

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