Arborvitae danger

Asked August 14, 2019, 7:20 PM EDT

Daughter bought home. Three arborvitae planted on corner of lot are very large. The bottom branches blocks view of street when leaving driveway. Also block view of street for motorists turning on to street Is it ok to trim up several feet to open view?

Milwaukee County Wisconsin arborvitae

1 Response

Thank you for your question. You have the well-known ‘the right plant that is planted in the wrong place is the wrong plant’ malady. These plants are shrubs, with multiple stems emanating from the soil, rather than trees, with one central trunk. The tree’s central trunk lends itself to trimming/pruning the lower branches. A shrub that is pruned like this resembles a naked man, shivering in the shower. So, you won’t kill it by pruning, but it may well (1) become unsightly and (2) grow back to its current lower size. Here is an Extension article on pruning: https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/pruning-evergreens/ Good luck!