Cutting thuja into shape - tips and tricks

Cutting thuja into shape - tips and tricks

Cut the thuja into shape

Thuja can be cut into almost any shape you want. You only need good tools, a sense of proportion and some manual skill. Particularly popular forms of thuja are:

  • High trunk
  • cone
  • Bullet
  • spiral

also read

  • Cutting thuja as a tree - tips and tricks
  • Cut thuja as a high stem
  • Planting thuja emerald - tips and tricks

If you have little experience with topiary pruning, it is better to have a gardener do the basic pruning. Then you only need to recut regularly later.

You can make suitable templates from cardboard or wire. But you can also buy them at the garden center.

When is the tree of life cut into shape?

While you only have to cut thuja in the hedge once or twice a year, depending on its age, the topiary should be done more often. It has proven useful to carry out the first cut in April, the second cut at the end of June and a third cut at the end of August.

Prune the arborvitae on a cloudy but rain-free day. The sap that escapes during cutting turns the needles brown. If moisture penetrates the interfaces, fungal spores can nestle which trigger the dreaded shoot death.

Use clean tools!

Use only sharp, clean tools. If the shoots tear during cutting, they provide an inlet for mushrooms. You can transmit diseases and pests with unclean tools.

Cut thuja as a high stem

Thuja as a high stem is occasionally found in gardens. It should be said that the tree of life is not the ideal tree for high trunks. It looks very ugly from below if it turns brown inside.

If you still want to cut a high trunk, simply remove the lower branches directly from the trunk. Thuja does not sprout there again.

Thuja in a cone shape

Thuja as a cone is a popular cut. Start at the top. Tie a rope there that reaches the floor and weigh it down with a piece of wood. You can then run the rope around the bottom of the tree and cut along the ribbon. This will make the cone shape nice and even.

Tree of life as a sphere

For a spherical tree of life you need a template made of wire or paper that you slide over the crown.

Cut the thuja in a spiral shape

It starts with cutting the tree of life as a cone. Make a stencil out of wire and place it over the tree of life. How big the distances between the spiral should be is a matter of taste. To finish off, create a point or cut a small ball.


Thuja is poisonous! The escaping sap can cause skin irritation in sensitive people. Therefore, always cut with gloves and long-sleeved clothing.