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Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 5, 2020 8:25 AM CST

Hi all, I need to trim and wrap a row of emerald green arborvitaes because I'm getting a fence installed behind them. These are around 15 feet tall and around 15 years old, they are healthy and treated each year.

My plan is to trim the backside of them where the fence is going. How close to the stems can I trim? I don't really need it to grow back since it will be covered by the fence, but I don't want to damage the tree.

Second I would like to wrap the bottom of the trees in clear Saran like packaging wrap just while the guys are working on the fence, this will give them more room to work and not damage the trees. How long can I leave the bottom half of the trees wrapped in clear wrapping? A couple of weeks? I'd like to begin doing it now so they are done when the fence will be installed in two weeks.

Thank you for any help
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Jun 5, 2020 8:31 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
I'd use burlap, not Saran wrap.
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Jun 6, 2020 4:41 PM CST
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Do not use anything impermeable, unless you want a lot of foliar death. Using clear plastic will be like putting it under a magnifying glass, and cooking the foliage.

As pirl notes, burlap is a good standard material to use for your purpose. Barring availability of that, something similar like bedsheets would do. The lighter weight and the lighter color the material, the better.

You could also use something simple like chicken wire, if you are just binding things up to temporarily make more room. This would be similar to the mesh that Christmas tree growers put on trees to ship, or send you home with.

Finally, you could just use twine.
Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 8, 2020 7:18 AM CST

Thank you both, I think I'll look into the chicken wire option.

How about trimming? How much can I really trim from the back before doing overall tree damage?

Thank you
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Jun 8, 2020 8:54 PM CST
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
You can't have too many viburnums..
Region: United States of America Region: Kentucky Farmer Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Butterflies Enjoys or suffers hot summers Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
You haven't said where these plants are growing. That would be helpful to know, before offering cultural recommendations. Weather conditions, average rainfall, etc. all play into what to do, how much, and when.

Healthy plants can often tolerate more abuse (read: excess pruning) than weaker plants. That you don't care what it looks like makes it easier to advise proper execution.

Finally: you could offer up some images of what things look like now, and possibly demonstrate what the fence is going to do to change the situation.
Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 9, 2020 6:52 AM CST

Thank you for the reply. I'm located in New York, the trees are on my sprinkler system with its own zone and a soaker hose.

I did the twine wrap today on only a couple and it worked very well. I think I can get away with no trimming, so my question is will it be ok to keep the bottom half of the trees, about 6' up, wrapped in twine for about a week until the fence is installed?

Thank you again for taking the time. I can include some pics if needed
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Jun 9, 2020 8:10 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photos are always helpful. I've never seen any damage from using the twine for a week or two.
Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 9, 2020 8:51 AM CST

Some pics of one with twine and the rest of the trees
Thumb of 2020-06-09/Abchoppers/d02b42
Thumb of 2020-06-09/Abchoppers/affb7e
Thumb of 2020-06-09/Abchoppers/090301
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Jun 9, 2020 10:26 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
They are beauties. If I'm right, and see ivy at the base of the middle shrub of the first photo, get rid of it before it suffocates your wonderful plants.
Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 9, 2020 12:12 PM CST

pirl said:They are beauties. If I'm right, and see ivy at the base of the middle shrub of the first photo, get rid of it before it suffocates your wonderful plants.


Thank you, that is ivy and i'll Take it out as I wrap them, thank you for the heads up
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Jun 9, 2020 1:58 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Keep an eye on it. It took me a long time to get it out of my spruces.
Avatar for Abchoppers
Jun 9, 2020 3:10 PM CST

pirl said:Keep an eye on it. It took me a long time to get it out of my spruces.


Will do, the trees surround my entire property and I'd like to keep them 😁

Do you think I should still be watering on a daily basis? They have their own zone in my system

I have them treated about 4-5 times a year for mites with oil, anything else I should be doing?

Thanks for your time, I'm a total newbie with shrubs and trees. I'm on Long Island as well

Thank you
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Jun 9, 2020 5:48 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Anyone else is a better authority than I am.

@ViburnumValley
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