How to Trim Arborvitae Trees


Trimming and pruning some species of plants is a necessity. Arborvitae trees–evergreens grown in northern regions like Canada and the northern states–are typically planted as hedges. Like many hedges, these plants require some trimming to remain healthy and growing. Trimming removes dead materials and allows the plant to grow with only healthy limbs.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Prune arborvitae trees once a year in either fall or early winter for best results. They should not be cut back too often to avoid ruining them.

  • Trim the arborvitae trees immediately after the first planting based on the root size. Some arborvitae trees grown in nurseries will be larger than the root system can easily support, so immediate trimming to a smaller size will help the plant grow and thrive.

  • Feel the arborvitae to find the dead zone. While running hands over the plant, the dead zone will feel bare of growth. This area will not grow, so make sure to avoid cutting to the dead zone.

  • Use pruning shears to cut away dead branches. Take off only the dead material and leave the live, green material around it.

  • Cut away any diseased areas. This prevents the spread of diseases or rot. Just snip it away slightly further inward than the diseased section.

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