How to Prune an Arborvitae

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Whether you’re looking to spruce up your yard or simply keep your arborvitae healthy, proper pruning is essential. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to prune an arborvitae the right way.

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Pruning Basics

Arborvitae are one of the best trees that you can have in your garden. They are very low maintenance and can live for centuries with very little intervention from you. Pruning is one of the interventions that you may need to do from time to time, and it is actually very easy to do. This guide will show you how to prune an arborvitae in just a few simple steps.

When to prune

Pruning is generally done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Arborvitae can also be pruned in summer if necessary.

The three types of pruning cuts

Pruning is a vital cultural practice for maintaining the health and aesthetics of arborvitae. It is best to prune soon after the plant has finished its major growth for the season (usually in late summer or early fall). Avoid pruning in late fall or winter, as this can damage the plant. There are three types of pruning cuts: heading, thinning, and tipping.

Heading cuts remove the terminal (end) buds of a branch, resulting in reduced branch length and often denser foliage. Heading cuts are typically used to reduce the overall size of a plant or to control its shape.
Thinning cuts remove entire branches at their point of origin on the main stem. Thinning cuts are used to reduce density, increase air circulation, and allow light penetration.
Tipping cuts remove lateral (side) branches along their length, resulting in a branch that has a dulled or “tipped” appearance. Tipping cuts are typically used to control plant height or width.

Pruning an Arborvitae

Arborvitae are one of the most popular evergreen shrubs due to their dense, green foliage. They are a low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of pruning. However, you may need to prune your arborvitae if it is overgrown, damaged, or diseased. In this article, we will talk about how to prune an arborvitae.

Step-by-step guide

Arborvitae (Thuja spp.), also known as cedar, is a versatile evergreen tree that works well in many landscape settings, from privacy screens to hedges. Arborvitae generally require little pruning, but shaping or light shearing may be necessary to achieve the desired look. The best time for pruning an arborvitae is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Here’s a step-by-step guide to pruning an arborvitae.

Step 1:
Start by removing any dead, diseased or damaged branches with sharp pruning shears. Make cuts just above a healthy bud or branch junction.

Step 2:
Next, thin out the interior of the plant by removing some of the branches. This will increase air circulation and light penetration, which can help prevent disease problems. Make your cuts just above a bud or branch junction.

Step 3:
Set up your ladder and prune back the top of the arborvitae to create a more compact, uniform shape. Again, make your cuts just above a bud or branch junction. You may need to make several cuts to achieve the desired shape.

Step 4:
Finish up by cleaning up any debris and trimming back any stray branches or twigs.

Before you start

Pruning an arborvitae may seem like a daunting task, but with a little knowledge and the right tools, it can be quite easy. The most important thing to remember when pruning any tree or shrub is to never remove more than one-third of the plant at any one time. This will help to prevent shock and encourage new growth.

Before you start pruning, you will need to gather a few supplies. You will need a sharp pair of pruning shears, a ladder (if the arborvitae is too tall to reach from the ground), and some gloves to protect your hands.

Once you have everything you need, you can begin pruning your arborvitae.

What you’ll need

-Hand pruners
-Pruning saw
-Hedge shears (optional)

After you finish

After you finish pruning your arborvitae, water it well. This is especially important if you live in an area with hot, dry summers. Arborvitae need about 1 inch of water per week, so make sure to give it a good soaking. You should also mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture.

Clean up

Once you have removed all of the dead, diseased, or dying branches, you will want to clean up your pruning tools before moving on to the next plant. It is important to clean your pruning tools between plants to prevent the spread of disease. You can clean your pruning tools with a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water. You should also sterilize any tools that come into contact with the soil, such as trowels and shovels.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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