The Q&A Archives: Pruning Back Golden Biotas (Thuja Orientalis)

Question: I have golden biotas that are getting too high. Is it possible to cut them back alot without killing them?. Also when would be the best time of the year to do this? Marianne McPhilemy Somerdale, NJ

Answer: The golden biota or Thuja orientalis grows continuously throughout the summer. It can be pruned at any time during the growing season except during the last few weeks, when the new growth slows down and matures in anticipation of winter cold. Pruning done that late in the summer will stimulate fresh new growth that will not have time to mature completely before cold weather arrives. This new growth will not survive the winter. Pruning is generally done lightly near the tips of branches, following the plant's natural shape. You can use long-handled hedge shears. However, shearing gives the plant an unnatural look. The best way is slower. Reach in with pruning clippers beyond the natural silhouette of the tree, following the main stem of the branch to be trimmed until you find a place where side branches grow. Cut here, just outside the side branches, so the foliage above and below will conceal the cut. Unfortunately, you cannot lower the height of the plant too much. Evergreens do not produce new growth on areas of the stem behind existing foliage. The height of the plant needed to be controlled right from the time of planting.

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