overgrown Arborvitae


LawnSite Senior Member
I had a referral to trim some Arborvitae that have gotten out of hand. These look fairly healthy but are over 8 foot tall. They are tucked away under some larger trees in the shade and are thin in the branches. The HO wants them cut to 4 feet. I don't think this is a wise move. My thought is to remove them and place something more suitable in the spot. The HO insists on them being trimmed. Can I safely perform what amounts to a topping of them? I would be cutting over 4 feet off the top.


LawnSite Senior Member
Elizabeth, WV
I don't know if I'm the best qualified to answer but I did a job similar to this last fall. I usually try to do major cutbacks in the fall. This arb was about 12' tall and I cut about 6' off. This arb was against a house and received alot of sun. I cut the "trunk" with a chainsaw but left some green so the trunk wouldn't be noticeable. I stepped down the cutting so my final cut ,I only cut about 6" off. This way the bark won't peel. Even with the hot and dry summer this year, It filled in nicely. Another year should fill completly. Let the homeowner know it will have a chopped look. Good luck. Matt


LawnSite Fanatic
Yes, make SURE there is some LEAVES left so that photosynthesis can happen.
I did it with some 10-foot boxwoods, took them WAY down to about a foot or so. By the way, make sure you charge a good amount as there will be a TON of debris (unless you have a chipper, that would be sweet but still it costs).