UACES Facebook Arborvitae

Arborvitae

(September 2012)

QuestionI have a screen of seven mature arborvitae that are scorched on their south sides; the north sides are lush and green. I have used soaker hoses about once a month letting them run for a total of 8-9 hours moving the hoses every 2 to 3 hours to cover the entire root zone. The next day this is repeated on the north sides. They were faithfully sprayed for bag worms this spring and I see no infestation. On the south sides the needles are brown from the tops of the trees to the bottoms and from side to side and fall off when gently brushed. Some of the needle bearing twigs are still pliable but most are dry and brittle. Should I keep watering or are they unsaveable?

AnswerOnce a month in a summer like we had was probably not enough to keep them healthy and thriving. If an evergreen goes brown from the tip of the branch to the trunk, it usually means that particular branch is dead. I would say you have a tree that is half dead and half living. Could something have been sprayed on the south side? Needle-type evergreens like arborvitae don’t rebound well. As I see it, you have three options. You can continue to enjoy the screening from the healthy north side of the plant, replant entirely, or plant something on the south side to mask the dead branches.


(March 2012)

QuestionWe are searching for replacement evergreen trees where dead Leyland Cypress had been removed from our backyard. They had been a screen between our house and a neighbor. We would like to have something that won't get over 0 to 12 feet in height, that will remain green year-round and that will allow flowering plants between them and the front of the bed and still provide the screen against the chain link fence between houses. The bed is approximately 25 - 30 feet in length and 8 - 15 feet wide. The trees will face the South (our house faces East) so will get at least 6 hours of full sun daily. We would appreciate your suggestions for that space. We have seen so many evergreens labeled "emerald green arborvitae" but according to the information can grow as high as 60 feet and 6 - 8 feet wide. Can those that are said to grow so tall be trimmed back in height as they grow? Thank you for any information to assist us in making our decision.

AnswerIf all you want is a plant that gets 10-12 feet tall, then choose a plant that has that as its maximum height. Especially if you plant something like the green giant arborvitae that can reach 60 feet tall, you will have to constantly prune, which makes a large hedge a constant work in progress. Some better choices include the Nelly R Stevens holly, cleyera, winter honeysuckle, or even one of the loropetalum varieties. Some varieties grow taller than 12 feet, others much shorter.


(Sept 2010)

QuestionI was wondering when is the best time to trim an arborvitae shrub? I have one that is pretty tall and wide and I did not know the best way to trim it to keep from hurting it.

AnswerFall is not a great time to prune shrubs in the landscape for several reasons. One, you may have a pruned look all winter long if new growth doesn't appear, and if new growth does come on late, it may not be as hardy. I would opt for late February through mid April as the prime time to prune arborvitae. Try not to remove more than one third of the plant when pruning. Also, in the case of needle type evergreens such as arborvitae and junipers, don't prune any branch too severely as they don't sprout out as readily from old wood. If you can, make sure green foliage is still on the branch after pruning.


(September 2010)

QuestionI was wondering when is the best time to trim an arborvitae shrub? I have one that is pretty tall and wide and I did not know the best way to trim it to keep from hurting it.Fall is not a great time to prune shrubs in the landscape for several reasons. One, you may have a pruned look all winter long if new growth doesn't appear, and if new growth does come on late, it may not be as hardy. I would opt for late February through mid April as the prime time to prune arborvitae. Try not to remove more than one third of the plant when pruning. Also, in the case of needle type evergreens such as arborvitae and junipers, don't prune any branch too severely as they don't sprout out as readily from old wood. If you can, make sure green foliage is still on the branch after pruning.

AnswerFall is not a great time to prune shrubs in the landscape for several reasons. One, you may have a pruned look all winter long if new growth doesn't appear, and if new growth does come on late, it may not be as hardy. I would opt for late February through mid April as the prime time to prune arborvitae. Try not to remove more than one third of the plant when pruning. Also, in the case of needle type evergreens such as arborvitae and junipers, don't prune any branch too severely as they don't sprout out as readily from old wood. If you can, make sure green foliage is still on the branch after pruning.


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