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advice trimming large arborvitae "hedge"

Recently purchased a home with a huge arborvitae "hedge" for privacy. Former owner planted them 40 years ago, and had them trimmed regularly until her death (house was in an estate for a couple of years, and hedges were unattended to).

I'd like to "take back" some of the yard lost to the width of the arborvitae. They're probably 20' high. The neighbor behind
also likes the hedge for privacy so I'd like to trim, but do no harm for future growth.

What's the best time to trim? How much can be safely be removed?

Re: advice trimming large arborvitae "hedge"

Hard to visualize the evergreens without photos---can you provide?

The appearance of Arborvitae are highly variable due to the various types out there (some have very thick foliage, others don't), appearance of various property lines, proximity of neighbor's houses, other trees present, the fact that they thin out considerably even in partial shade, but grow thick in full sun, etc.

They ordinarily grow a foot or less per growing season---if they're 20' now they would seem to be unmanageable for a DIY regular trim of twice a growing season with hedge trimmers---meaning you would have to hire a landscaper to make any changes.

Since these arborvitae have been installed 40 yrs ago things have changed with these evergreen trees----the ones you have now are probably programmed to gradually grow to 30' heights if they are not periodically & regularly trimmed back; they now have new cultivars (versions) that are much better suited to the excellent job they do as attractive property line markers that also provide privacy; you can now buy the newer versions that stop growing at 5' or 6', or even 4'---this would mean getting rid of a big headache in regular maintenance, and the considerable expense if you choose to hire a landscaper.

The other options, if you decide to cut the old stuff down is to get estimates to have 6' picket fencing, or 6' vinyl fencing installed (6' for fencing is usually the legal ordinance code height limit in most communities; there is usually NO limit on how high live trees grow) which would probably be less expensive than putting in new 4', 5', or 6' arborvitaes that would stay that height with very little trimming.

Consult the Yellow Pages under "Landscaping Contractors" to have 1 or 2 tree experts come over the house to give you a free estimate of the options mentioned.

Re: advice trimming large arborvitae "hedge"

Have tried twice to attached pic, but file is too large (will try later to compress).

This privacy "hedge" needs to be at least 15' high since both I and neighbor on other side of arborvitaes have decks that are 12' high ... a 6' fence or 6' hedge won't provide the kind of privacy we have now.

There is a 3-4' growth difference between ones planted on end, which are in more shade, and the plants in full sun. But its their width that's more of a concern right now since they're encroaching onto useable lawn space - make it difficult to mow.

Figured "hire a pro" was likely the solution - so will check for recommendations in area. Thanx.

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