Replanting old stunted arborvitae - will they grow taller?


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I've got a few arborvitae that are very stunted (3-4ft tall) after spending a decade mostly in the shade of trees. If in a few weeks as we get closer to mid-autumn, I replant these in a sunnier area, can these arborvitae resume growth? Or do they have a finite growth period, after which they can no longer grow (like most animals)?
 
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Can you tell us which varieties you have, and maybe post photographs of them :)
 
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Not sure which. Does it matter though? Aren't all sub-species going to behave the same in terms of whether or not years of stunted growth can be renewed under improved conditions?

I'll take pics and post them later.
 
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Pics of the stunted arborvitae. No idea which sub-species. This is in the northeastern US. These are all either mostly or completely in the shade of trees. These were planted over a decade ago. Might be 15 years old.

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If I replant where they will get a lot more sunlight, will they grow taller? Or am I better off buying very young arborvitae?

Separately, here's are some healthy arborvitae that I'm considering moving (either move or pull out and discard). These are 8ft and 11ft tall.
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1. How large a rootball would I need to dig out?
2. What are the survival odds on transplanting these?
Given the amount of work it would take to dig these out (which depends on how large a rootball I need to dig out) and possibly not great survival odds, I'm also considering buying young 6ft arborvitae for $60-$70 apiece instead.
 
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Having had some considerable experience with trees of this kind, I would strongly suggest that you dispose of all of these. The larger ones will not survive any transplant, and even the smaller ones (which are not in good shape) would resent being moved.
If the area you want to replenish is always in shade, I would consider planting softer greenery that enjoys a shady place to grow, and I would improve the soil in the planting area with some good organic matter to help replenish the area. Those trees will have depleted the goodness in the soil, and it will be very acid.
If you do replace these with smaller plants of the same kind or otherwise, you will save money by investing in even smaller plants than 6ft as they will undoubtedly take much less time and effort to become established, and will be healthier for it.
 
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Thanks, that's helpful.

To clarify, the reason I was planning on moving these arborvitae is because I lost a tree in another spot, and that tree was providing some privacy. So my idea was move a few arborvitae to that location to establish a privacy screen.

Per your info, I'll abandon the plan to move any of these arborvitae.

As for selecting new arborvitae, I was thinking 6ft because that would get me closer to having an effective privacy screen (would need 7-8ft) than say a 4ft, which would take 2-3 years to even get to 6ft. Your thoughts?

In terms of replenishing soil, I've got plenty of compost (we compost food waste such as eggshells, banana peels, etc.). Anything else that would be helpful, especially for the area where I lost a 25ft pine tree and will be planting new arborvitae?
 
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My thoughts.... over the years I have realised that the kind of trees you are talking about are generally a pain in the proverbial in more ways than one. They take the goodness out of the soil so that nothing else can grow well near them, they make loads of mess and grow to unmanageable sizes, and generally they are pretty ugly in a garden setting.
When it comes to creating a little privacy, there is another way of doing it. Most new gardeners (not meaning you) will plant around the very edge of their gardens with great big plants that cost the earth all in aid of making a screen for privacy!! The plants don`t establish well, and the whole sorry scene is a mess.
Firstly, I would suggest pinpointing one area to make ''private'' for starters - maybe an area near the house where you can sit with your morning cuppa.... build a screen with a few upright timbers and a trellis perhaps, and add a few climbers, honeysuckle, clematis and rose maybe. That is pretty instant. From there start to add a few more plants - small ones so they establish well, grasses and perennials perhaps. There are also some lovely evergreen shrubs like Griselinia or Privet,Holly, Eleagnus etc.
As for soil - a nice big load of farmyard manure is what you need ;)
 
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I hadn't even considered something else, because one of my backyard borders has a row of arborvitae that provide a great privacy screen and are very low maintenance, but as you note, they take up a lot of space. Space that could otherwise be used for growing vegetables. The soil effect is another factor I hadn't considered.

Thanks for the pics. I'll also check around for other privacy screen ideas that don't involve planting a row of arbors or similar evergreens (they are VERY popular in the US for privacy screens).
 
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They were also very popular here in the UK, but as time lapsed it became apparent that they were a very bad idea. Everso many rows of the b****y things went on bonfires, and wherever they did grow they caused problems. They shade other people`s gardens too, which has made reason for loads of arguments (putting it mildly)
If you just want a quick growing hedge that stays green - I would go for the griselinia - fast growing and easy to cut to shape and size .. and reliably evergreen.
Without these monsters, you have a chance of creating a pretty and enjoyable garden space :joyful:
 

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