The Q&A Archives: Arborvidaes bent over from snow

Question: I have a hedge of arborvidaes that are leaning over after a heavy snow.
The snow is gone but the arborvidaes are still bent over.
What can I do to help them straighten them up?

Answer: Although this last period of snowy weather was extended, it's not the first time snow has fallen on arborvitaes (look around your neighborhood and and I suspect you'll find lots of upright, mature arborvitaes. I really think your arborvitaes will recover, given time. There are some precautions you might want to take the next time it snows. For light, dry snows, let Mother Nature melt it off. But if the snow is wet, you should try to remove some right after each storm to avoid limbs breaking or bending out of shape, Carefully knock off the wet snow with a broom or a leaf rakel, trying not to injure branches. If injury occurs to a limb, wait until warmer weather in late winter or spring to remove or shorten the branch. If you have prized evergreen shrubs that are small enough to cover, consider building wooden A-frame shelters to take most of the snow load off the limbs. At this point, I'd just allow the arborvitates to recover on their own. They should straighten up as the weather warms this spring.

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