Tree Care

Pruning Arborvitae for Optimal Growth: A Guide by Strobert Tree Services

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Arborvitae trees are popular with many homeowners and landscapers due to their evergreen foliage and elegant pyramidal shape. Proper pruning is essential to maintain health, shape, and overall appearance. In this comprehensive guide, brought to you by Strobert Tree Services, we'll cover the best time to trim arborvitae, how to prune them to maintain their perfect pyramidal form, and answer common pruning-related questions.

How to Prune an Arborvitae Tree


  1. Assess the Tree: Before pruning, carefully inspect your arborvitae tree for dead, diseased, or damaged branches. Identifying these areas will be crucial for targeted pruning to encourage healthy growth.
  2. Use the Right Tools: Make sure you have the appropriate tools for pruning, such as sharp pruning shears, loppers, and a pruning saw. Dull tools can cause damage to the tree, so keep them sharp and clean.
  3. Prune Sparingly: Arborvitae trees are slow-growing, so it's essential to prune sparingly to avoid over-pruning. Focus on removing only dead or diseased branches and any branches crossing or rubbing against each other.
  4. Maintain the Pyramidal Shape: To keep the classic pyramidal form of the arborvitae, avoid pruning the central leader (the main vertical stem) excessively. This will help the tree maintain its elegant shape.


How to Maintain the Perfect Pyramidal Form


Maintaining the perfect pyramidal form of arborvitae is essential to ensure the tree's health and aesthetic appeal in your landscape.


  • Regular Light Pruning: The key to maintaining the pyramidal form of your arborvitae is to conduct regular light pruning. Lightly trim back any stray branches that are disrupting the tree's shape.
  • Topiary Pruning: For formal landscapes, you may opt for topiary pruning to create more defined shapes. This requires careful and precise pruning to achieve the desired geometrical form.
  • Regular Inspection: Inspect your arborvitae tree for any signs of irregular growth or pests. Early detection can prevent more extensive pruning later on.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pruning Arborvitae


Can You Cut the Top of an Arborvitae?


While it is possible to trim the top of arborvitae to control its height, it's essential to avoid cutting into the central leader, as mentioned earlier. Removing the central leader can lead to an unattractive, uneven shape and disrupt the tree's natural growth pattern.

What is the Best Time to Trim Arborvitae Trees?


The best time to trim arborvitae is late winter or early spring while the tree is still dormant. This timing allows the tree to recover and start its new growth season in the spring. Avoid pruning in late summer or early fall, as the new growth may need more time to harden before winter.

How to Remove Dead Portions of an Arborvitae Tree?


When removing dead portions of an arborvitae tree, follow these steps:


  • Identify the dead branches by their brown or brittle appearance.
  • Use clean and sharp pruning tools to make clean cuts close to the trunk or the main branch.
  • Avoid leaving any stubs, as they can attract pests and diseases.
  • Dispose of the dead branches properly to prevent the spread of diseases.


Top Arborvitae Care Tips


  1. Proper Watering: Arborvitae trees require consistent watering, especially during dry periods. Ensure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the tree's base to retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.
  3. Fertilizing: Fertilize your arborvitae tree with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring to promote healthy growth.
  4. Pests and Disease Management: Regularly inspect your tree for signs of pests or diseases, and take appropriate action promptly if any issues are detected.


Contact Strobert Tree Services


Our team of experienced arborists is committed to ensuring that your arborvitae trees thrive and maintain their stunning appearance. Whether it's shaping your arborvitae into their classic pyramidal form or addressing any issues with dead or diseased branches, our experts have the knowledge and skills to provide top-notch tree care.


Don't hesitate to contact us today at 302-742-1172 or visit our convenient locations in Delaware and Pennsylvania. 


Wilmington, Delaware


Georgetown, Delaware


Exton, Pennsylvania


Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania


Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

As leaders in tree care services, we proudly serve clients in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. Let us take care of your tree care needs and ensure the health and beauty of your arborvitae trees.


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