How to Care for An Arborvitae


There are many reasons why the popularity of arborvitaes is growing by leaps and bounds.  There are many advantages to raising these sturdy trees.  Besides their swift growth and the great heights they reach, they also remain green all year long, plus they are very flexible when it comes to enduring a vast range of soils and various climate conditions.  Interestingly enough, arborvitae is a Latin form of the French phrase “l’abre de vie,” which translates into “tree of life.” 

Arborvitae trees make an excellent option if you want to set them up side by side as a windbreak or use them as a privacy fence.  Some of the many types you can choose from are Emerald Arborvitae, Green Giant Arborvitae and American Arborvitae.  If you want a swiftly growing tree the green giant arborvitae is for you.  It grows three feet a year and reaches a height of up to 60 feet once fully mature.

Although basically low maintenance, arborvitaes do require some care.  Below are some tree care suggestions which will help your arborvitae to thrive from the day you first plant it:

Conditions Necessary for Quick Growth

If you are planting a row of arborvitae, perhaps as a windbreak or for privacy, then place the trees three feet apart in order to prevent root crowding and competition for nutrients and water.

.  Soil —  Soil should be deep and well drained, but keep moist.  It should also

have a pH of 6.0 which would make it slightly acidic, up to 8.0 alkaline.

.  Sun — Arborvitaes love the sun so they should be given full access to it, but

they will also do well in partial shade.

.  Area — Regions with high humidity are best.


Since Arborvitaes are known to take on a rather pretty pyramid shape if left to grow and develop without pruning, you may want to leave yours alone and just wait and see how it turns out.  If pruning must be done than keep it to only once a year and observe these few rules:

.  Seasons — Prune only in the fall or early winter, because summer pruning will

leave the branches brown and dry.

.  Crown — Absolutely never cut off more than 1/4 of a tree’s crown in a season.

.  Branches — It’s also best if the main side branches are about 1/3 smaller than

the trunk’s diameter.

Possible Threats

Here is a list of some possible threats to an arborvitaes’ health and well being:

     .  Water — While it is essential for the tree to have plenty of water, particularly

when conditions are dry, you must also be careful not to overdo it.

.  Deer —  If there are deer around where you live, your tree will have to be

protected from them, particularly while it is just starting out.  Something to

think about is purchasing a Tubex tree shelter in order to prevent wildlife from

harming your tree.

.  Pest and Disease — The only real concern you need to have is that bagworms

can sometimes cause problems for Arborvitae.  These can be kept under

control either by using a biological pesticide or, in the winter, they can simply

be picked off by hand.

Just remember that no matter how sturdy and healthy you tree may seem, it still needs your help and care in order to not only survive, but to thrive.  So don’t abandon your tree to life on its own once you buy it and then plant it.  That is not where your responsibility ends.  You must keep tending to your Arborvitae as with any other tree, nurturing it and supporting it.  In return your tree will grow and be healthy and strong.


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