Overgrown arborvitae

Asked January 10, 2021, 1:23 PM EST

Our backyard is bordered by the neighbor's arborvitae that has reached 30 feet in height and is 45 years old. This height has created unwanted shade invasion of our and a neighbor's backyards which should enjoy a full southernly exposure to the sun. The arborvitae owner expresses concern that reducing the height will result in death of trees. An overall reduction of 5-6 feet would greatly improve sunlight exposure for us. Is the concern that such a pruning will be a death sentence for the trees a valid one?

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

Arborvitae don't respond well to being topped. They would not recover and it would lead to their decline.

Here's information about pruning conifers on pages 3-4.

The top of the plants could be reduced a little with careful pruning as indicated in the publication.

Replacing the hedge with a lowering growing plant is another option, though probably not of interest to your neighbor.

If the sunlight is important to you, consider offering to pay for the removal and replacement of the hedge.

I hope this information helps you make an informed decisions.