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Encourage growth to Arborvitae

Coventry, RI(Zone 6a)

We planted 8 arborvitae last year to begin to create a privacy screen. Is there anyway to encourage growth? I've read where they don't really need to be fertilized. If I trim the tops will that help them to bush out?


Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

If you are interested in height, don't trim the tops. When they get to their desired height, then you can top them and they will get wider.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Hi - can I add a question about arborvitae? I got 3 small ones (1-2 feet) during last Fall's sales, and planted them in a nursery bed for the winter. Well, the deer have munched the tops off and now they are covered by netting so no more damage, but are only about 1/2 feet tall. Will they grow in the Spring or are they ruined with the tops gone? Is there something I can do to save them? Luckily, they only cost $5 apiece, so not a huge loss, if I have to start over in the spring - ?? Dax

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Carol- they will probably grow more this year than last , now that they've had time to root in. Keep up with adequate water. I would think fertilizer might make them grow more than not fertilizing, even though you don't HAVE to.
Dax- not sure myself, but many evergreens will regrow from that. , if you see any new green in spring, I think they'll be fine with some TLC, and even be raring to go from having extra roots.

Ridgefield, WA

Dax, i doubt your evergreens are "ruined" as far as their survival is concerned, though they may be somewhat esthetically compromised. I have two potted evergreens flanking my garage that the deer munch like crazy in winter. They do regrow quite a bit in the warmer months, though they're quite out of shape because the deer have no eye for design. :) I'd entertained the notion of replacing them because they're so wonkey, but i know the deer will only continue to "indiscriminately prune" whatever new evergreens i put there. Hence, i live with their "free form" look.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

estreya- just had a thought pop into my head. what if you form a wire 'cap' around your bush so the deer can only prune so far? thinking you choose the shape and they would keep it trimmed just outside that. automatic pruning- could it be so easy? I don't have deer, no idea what you're really up against.

Ridgefield, WA

What an interesting idea, Sallyg! I'll have to try it .... they are the sort of "defining greenery" when one pulls into the drive, so i'd like to keep them looking tip-top. I'll add it to my list of Spring projects ... :)

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Dax080 ~ In this climate, mine put on new growth in spring. Be patient, I think yours will come back just fine.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Great! Glad to hear they still have a chance, and I also like the idea with the netting - I'll follow all your suggestions - Dax

cosby, TN(Zone 7a)

what a great idea sallyg, automatic pruning and shaping

Windsor, ON(Zone 6a)

As long as there is still green growth they will continue to grow. One advantage is that because they have enough roots to support the amount of growth that was "pruned" off, they will probably grow a bit quicker.
If you shape the wire like an animal, maybe the deer will help you get a labour-free topiary...LOL

This message was edited Feb 13, 2007 8:03 PM

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Hey - neat idea for a topiary through netting - that will be fun! Watch for pictures in another 2-3 years - Dax

Port Orchard, WA

carbo-if you will simply drive around Coventry and observe all the "living fences" between the houses(which are almost all arborvitae)'you will notice that a majority of them are neatly PRUNED to about five feet me,the owners are not doing this ! in my experience-in RI-deer will get most arborvitae and rhodos(plus hollies) if the snow cover is deep enough in any given year.I have found only three things that always(so far) work.1-electric fence 2-a shotgun(so I've heard) and 3-Plant Skidd....I think this stuff is mostly just dried blood solids-no smell(to us),and no residue that you can see.It is rainfast in about 30 min. and is supposed to last 4 to 6 months.I apply it about every 4 months to be sure.
the coolest aspect of this stuff is that the deer don't have to eat some of the plant BEFORE it works-it doesn't work by taste,but rather smell.I've been buying it in Situate on Rte 101 a small nursery.or you can just go on line.....last note-deer have never touched pines,spruces or cedars in my yard..................(when I say "pruned to five feet high" I mean from the bottom up) good luck !

This message was edited Sep 12, 2007 1:10 AM

Acton, MA

I have just received 2 Thuja Arborvitae which I purposely ordered due to being deer resistant. These are the fast growing variety, so I hope that they really ARE deer resistant because there are a great many deer around my "neck of the woods."

Toronto, Canada

The best way to keep arborvitae (swamp cedar) healthy is literally to keep the roots moist all the time. They love "wet feet." With regular water they'll grow to 30' in time.

Hillsborough, NC(Zone 7b)

Flower - my thuja not safe. When not tasting - (don't seem to actually eat - just 'test') the deer are rubbing their heads on it and literally tear the limbs from the tree.

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