Pruning Arborvitae

Q: I have two arborvitae that are getting so big they are obstructing the security lights and part of my garage door. I need to take one of them down at least 6 feet. Will it recover from such a severe pruning?

A: Needled shrubs like juniper, arborvitae and false cypress are not very forgiving of severe pruning. Once you prune back beyond the green needles, little regrowth occurs. My advice is to choose a boxwood or holly that can be pruned to shape if needed.