This arborvitae was dug up and discarded at the curb when I found it in 2015. I brought it home and put it in the ground, mostly because I didn’t have a big enough pot or enough soil on hand.
In this photo, it is 48 inches, my tallest tree by far, but it was seven feet tall when I found it. During the 2016 growing season I periodically removed branches to reduce it with hopes that I was keeping it sufficiently strong by not removing too many at once. I was encouraged that it responded by back budding even from the thicker trunks.
Today, I lifted it, put it in this plastic training tray, and did some initial styling. This variety wants to grow straight up, so I wired down the long branches you see close to the base to allow light to get to the trunk without removing more leaves than I had to. I am hoping to encourage back budding and allow the plant to fill in before trying to shorten or remove any of these.
If all goes well it could become a triple trunk arrangement that suggests a huge, redwood-like forest with lots of deadwood. Maybe something like this: