Gardening With What You Have

From Mistake To Masterpiece: An Easy Plant Fix

Christine Froehlich 06/13/2017 Comments

 From Mistake To Masterpiece: An Easy Plant Fix


What can you do when you make planting bloopers like this? I confess that I've made my fair share of them, but this goes down as one of the most embarrassing. Obviously, I should have given a little more thought to moving this poor arborvitae here. It got creamed by snow and ice falling from the roof this winter.


split arborvitae



It was happy enough in its original home, paired up with another arb (Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire') that punctuated the entrance of my small backyard garden. Maybe I was rebelling against symmetry or something.... I don't remember why I moved it to such a unhospitable spot.



De Grootspire Arborvitae


 I felt pretty guilty when I saw the results of my folly, and tried to repair it by tying the splayed out branches in toward the trunk, but the darn thing still leaned over and looked pretty stupid. It was beyond staking, too big for me to move by myself, and options like pruning the top back or chopping it down didn't appeal to me much. But what the heck can you do with a bent over shrub that is supposed to be upright?  


After pondering the situation for awhile, the answer came to me  - work with the bend. Why not move it back to its original place and marry it up to the other one to make an arch? I knew it would be perfect.Some varieties of arborvitae get pretty big and might not be suitable, but 'Degroot's Spire' is a slow grower with a narrow growth habit that stays within a 20 foot height range.


Matt, my daughter's strong (and indulgent) fiance, was kind enough to move it back to its original home for me when they came over for dinner last week. I guess I now have a reputation that no one gets a free meal around here.


 I  gave it a little time to recover before I pounded a couple of sturdy 8 foot stakes deep into the ground and secured them to the trunks with heavy plastic coated wire.  


pounding in stake


I had to get up on a ladder to join the two arbs.The tops were very pliable - I bent them toward each other and wired them together.


wiring an arborvitae arbor


making an arborvitae arbor


The two didn't meet exactly in the middle because the bent arb was taller. It looked a little lopsided when I finished, so I added an extra stake several feet away and put some tension on the wire to round out the arch. A little less than perfect, but not  bad. You can hardly see the wire.


staking an arborvitae



Ta da!  Pretty majestic entrance don't you think? My husband Phil looked at it and commented, "now we just need a wrought iron gate." The fun never ends...stay tuned for part two of this adventure later on this summer.


arborvitae arch


arborvitae arch




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