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.
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.
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.
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.
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!