We have 4 globe arborvitaes along our front porch that have grown full and about 4 ft. tall over the past 20 years. We have pruned them annually, but the inner leaves/branches are brown and only the outer exposed leaves are green. We would like to cut these back about a foot, but are concerned that this will kill them or we won’t get green leaves back this season. I think they are worth saving, but my husband thinks they won’t recover well. Can you advise us how to prune these to give them the best chance of greening up this season or should be just replace them for something smaller? Thanks for your help!
I have to agree with your husband on this one. Cutting off a foot all around you globe arbs will remove pretty much all of the foliage. That will shock the plant so severely that it isn’t likely to survive. The general rule of thumb for pruning is :”Never remove more than 1/3 of the foliage per year.” I’d suggest replacing them with something slower growing so this doesn’t happen again. Dwarf Alberta Spruce would be an appropriate option. Peter Bowden