Asked on Jun 10, 2013

What is the best technique to trim an arborvitae?

CynthiaBobee-Kay ClarkGardens By Design, LLC


They are starting to get big...I actually have four of them. I have been using electric hedge clippers but I have trouble making the spiral. Someone told me to use twine, which I did but I still had trouble. Any suggestions welcome...
6 answers
  • The primary reason they are getting big is because your only clipping the new growth. A common mistake that people make. You need to be a bit more aggressive with the clipping and cut into the older growth materials as well. Once the plants begin to go out of shape it will take a lot of work to get them back to their once nice look. This often results in holes and gaps in the bushes until they grow back in. I would suggest if you are uncomfortable in doing this to have a professional landscaper that does this type of work reshape them for you and show you how to maintain these fine plants.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jun 10, 2013

    I use manual hand pruners to control the cut better. For me using the electric hedgers is like a surgeon using a butter knife. I just don't have the control I want with the electric hedgers.

  • Barbara Passaro
    on Jun 10, 2013

    Thanks...I'm thinking of cutting the top down being careful not to take too much? OR Making another section in the top?

  • Gardens By Design, LLC
    on Jun 11, 2013

    Most arborvitae of this size develop an area on the inside of the plant canopy that has little or no foliage. Green foliage should remain on branches that are cut back. Avoid cutting back to bare branches as they seldom are able to develop new growth.

  • Bobee-Kay Clark
    on Jun 16, 2013

    If you cut off the top, the arborvitae will grow out instead of up.

  • Cynthia
    on Jun 21, 2013

    Hand pruners worked best for me. Takes alittle longer but you can prune away the new and older growth to get it into the shape you want.

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