The Q&A Archives: Helping my Arborvitae

Question: My arborvitae have winter snow damage(they lean over or have broken branches) and need to be cut back or broken branches cut off. I know this is not the best time for pruning these trees but I'm concerned there might be more damage. How can I prune these trees without doing more damage?
Thanks for your help!

Answer: It's important to make clean cuts to remove any splintered branches so insect and disease problems don't invade the plant tissues. You can prune now - spring is just around the corner and new growth should cover the pruning wounds. Remove anything that is obviously dead or broken. Shore up anything leaning by placing a support or two around the damaged shrub and securely tying it upright. Check the ties periodically through the growing season to make sure they aren't tight enough to cause additional damage. It will take some patience and some time but your arborvitae should recover. Best wishes with your landscape!

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