Do Arborvitae Branches Grow Back After Deer or Storm Damage?

Do Arborvitae Branches Grow Back After Deer or Storm Damage?

It’s so easy to fall in love with arborvitae trees. We can count on them to line our landscapes, provide privacy and tout a yearlong emerald glow—all without needing much maintenance.

When they do need our attention, it’s usually because of a hungry deer or intense storm. If either one has left your arborvitae branches bent, broken, or bare, will the tree branches grow back?

There are a few simple things you can do to help arborvitaes recover.

Three Ways to Tackle Arborvitae Tree Damage Repair

How much damage means your arborvitae is a goner?

Devastating storms can create unstable trees, which makes your yard unsafe. First, check your arborvitae for any major issues, like split trunks, broken tops or downed limbs.

If the damage looks minimal, help your tree rebound with these tips.

What to Do When a Storm Affects Arborvitae Branches

Bent arborvitae branches need to be propped back up into their vertical form. To do this, collect the branches together until they’re standing straight up and secure them with burlap or bungee cords.

Keep the branches tied for about a month before checking if they’ve regained their form. If not, retie them. This is crucial because you don’t girdle these branches out with the tie. Or, if you used burlap, feel free to keep it on through winter. That way, the tree can gradually grow new wood and take shape without the threat of piling snow or hungry deer.

Broken arborvitae branches need to be pruned to repair the tree’s structure.

What to Do When a Deer Eats Your Arborvitae Branches

Bare branches without needles likely won’t grow back after a deer’s gotten to them.

But if there is some green growth left, there’s hope for your arborvitae! Trim off the branches that are bare, brown or beyond repair. Then, give it water, fertilizer and protect it from deer next season.

How fast do arborvitae branches grow back?

If you shower your arborvitae with TLC after damage, it can recover during the next few growing seasons. Arborvitaes can grow anywhere from 6 to 12” in a year. From here on out, it’s a game of patience–waiting for your tree to fill in again while keeping those deer away!

Fed up with the deer? Plant these deer-resistant arborvitaes.

  • The Tree Doctor October 24, 2017 >Hi, John. From your description, it is too difficult to diagnose what the issue is. We suggest sending photos of the tree to or having a certified arborist come to your property to evaluate the tree. Talk soon, John.
  • john demarino October 20, 2017 >I have 30 feet tall arborvitas tree that is bare on parts of right side bottom and you cn ded branches Is there anything I can do to get this area to grow back . Remainder of tree looks healthy
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