I have a few Arborvitae trees to create more privacy behind of my fence. Since my land is being seen from the nearby two stories townhouses, I want my Arborvitae trees grow horizontally over my fences. Pruning all bottom branches of an Arborvitae trees help it to grow horizontally on top of the fences or harm the tree?

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    Arborvitae will grow vertically, unless you attempt some massive reshaping. Independent of what you do with the lower branches. Can you add a sketch of what you want to achieve?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 5:34
  • A sketch would be helpful. Sounds more like a arbor or pergola with vines if you're trying to create a "roof' with pant material, which is the impression I get from the verbal description. For two-story condos you could just plant lombardy poplars which will grow (vertically) taller than the condos.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 24, 2023 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


Arborvitae trees are used to create living walls, by planting lots of them close together. They grow tall. Pruning lower branches will not make any tree grow horizontally. Pruning the growing tip will make some trees grow bushier.

An example picture from Almanac

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