arborvitae storm damage - Knowledgebase Question

Greenwood Lake, Ne
Avatar for omnidance
Question by omnidance
March 31, 2010
It's been a tough season for our arborvitae. We've already removed any split branches, but don't know what to do with the open centers. Will they straighten up by themselves? Should we tie them together to encourage them? Should be cut them back? Many thanks for your advice. Marianne

Answer from NGA
March 31, 2010
Ice or snow, or a combination of them can weigh down the upright branches. But unless the branches break off, they usually straighten themselves up in time. I'm sure they look unattractive but you may want to just leave them alone and see what happens. If you don't see any change at all in their appearance by the end of the summer, tie the top branches together so they won't suffer the same fate over the winter months. (I use twine and wrap mine in a spiral fashon - not tightly, but just enough to keep them upright. Start at the spot where they are bending down and spiral the twine all the way up to the top, securing it at the top.) In the spring you can selectively remove the worst branches, making your pruning cuts at random lengths so the tops look a little more natural. Your pruning cuts will encourage healthy new growth and the bare areas should fill in. Hope this is descriptive enough! Best wishes with your arborvitaes.

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