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Pruning a Green Giant Arborviate Hedge.

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From: Bob Peterson
Ronkonkoma, NY

We have 10 Green Giant Arborvitaes between the neighbors front yard and ours. They are currently about 4' tall, and we'd like to cap the height of the hedge at 5 1/2' to 6'. We're hoping that will grow together nicely, and with yearly pruning, they will become an attractive privacy hedge.

First of all, do you think this is doable, or a reasonable expectation? If so, do you have any pruning tips, such as when and how much?


Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
You have chosen a large growing arborvitae which can have annual rates of growth of 2 feet or more and attain a height of over 50 feet. Keeping them small to fit into the room you have will be the challenge. Filling in will not be a problem. They will need to be pruned each year after the annual growth hardens off. Start at the top reducing the height as much as possible, then prune the sides from the top down. Attempting to or keeping them approximately 1/4 their normal size will likely shorten their lives. Eventually they will get much bigger than desired as the wood will get so heavy and big you will not be able to prune them properly without letting them get bigger.

From: Bob Peterson
Ronkonkoma, NY
Sorry, I meant to post this in Trees and Shrubs - I guess I wasn't paying enough attention.

Thanks for the response. It sounds as though we chose the wrong trees for our purpose - they were recommended by a friend with "landscaping experience".

At any rate, it also sounds like the trees will serve our purpose for a while, with careful pruning. In the longer run however, I guess they'll need to be replaced.

Thanks again.

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