How to Prune an Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald green arborvitae, known botanically as Thuja, is an evergreen perennial native to Eastern North America. Arborvitae is used singly or in pairs as specimen trees and also commonly used in mass linear plantings to serve as hedging, windbreaks, living fences and screening. It responds well to pruning and shaping, bouncing back with new growth. Arborvitae does not require pruning to encourage growth but only for control of size, shape and appearance.

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An Arborvitae Thuja Occidentalis

Step 1

Don your gloves and inspect your Arborvitae for any signs of diseased or damaged branches. Cut or saw away any that you find and pull those branches loose from the body of the tree. Discard diseased branches in the trash in lieu of the compost pile to prevent the spread of disease.

Step 2

Use your loppers or saw to thin the interior of your Arborvitae, removing any branches that do not face outward or that cross each other or rub against one another, which can create wounds that leave the tree vulnerable to disease. Thinning out the interior of the arborvitae allows improved light penetration and air flow.

Step 3

Shear across the top of the arborvitae to bring it down to its desired height, Finish the top shape to be flat or rounded, as desired.

Step 4

Shape the perimeter of your arborvitae, working in sections and moving around the tree to maintain balanced pruning cuts and a professional looking finished product.