Should Arborvitae With Winter Damage Be Pruned

Question From: D. Meno - Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Q: Hi Nancy, I recvd and read this months newsletter. I was surprised by your suggestion to NOT fertilizer winter damaged plants like the Arborvitae, but understood your explanation. I have sprayed my arbs for a few years with a oil spray to keep the plants from winter wind damage. Its worked up until this year. I've got one plant that half the foliage is dead. I've treated it with a mirclegro for acid/evergreens, and placed a single fert stake in the ground (which I'm removing) per your suggestion. To my question: Q1 Should you cut back dead foliage on arbs? Q2 When should you start a fert on a damaged tree. Thanks for your great work. Dan

A: Dan I would wait until the middle of June to see what's what before pruning. You can shear away the damaged foliage however if there is no green showing on the branch it will not produce new growth so cut away dead branches first. I would fertilize these shrubs with an organic fertilizer, such as Holly tone by Espoma, in late fall. But since you have already done the deed, I'd pass. Best regards, Nancy.