The Versatility of the Emerald Green Arborvitae

The Versatility of the Emerald Green Arborvitae

May 1, 2024

The Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') is a compact, narrow, evergreen tree that is highly valued for its vibrant green foliage and neat, columnar shape. This variety of arborvitae offers year-round privacy and aesthetic appeal, ideal for small yards and urban gardens where space is at a premium. Here's everything you need to know about growing and caring for Emerald Green Arborvitae.

The Importance of Hardiness Zones & Planting Conditions

Emerald Green Arborvitae thrives in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 7, making it a resilient choice for a wide range of climates. These trees perform best in full sun to partial shade and prefer moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Planting should ideally be done in the spring or fall, which allows the trees to establish roots without the stress of midsummer heat or winter cold.

close up view of emerald green arborvitae

Planting Emerald Green Arborvitaes in the Summer

Planting Emerald Green Arborvitae during the summer months can pose challenges, primarily due to higher temperatures and potential water stress.

To increase the survival rate of these plants when planting in the summer, it’s important to plant them during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid the harsh midday sun. Before planting, ensure that the soil is well-prepared with adequate drainage and is rich in organic matter to hold moisture.

After placing the arborvitae in the ground, water it thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and eliminate air pockets. Regular and deep watering is crucial in the weeks following planting, especially during periods of hot, dry weather.

Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the tree can also help conserve moisture, keep the root zone cooler, and reduce weed competition. These steps will help Emerald Green Arborvitae establish more effectively, even in the challenging conditions of summer.

emerald green arborvitae tree in black nursery pot

Caring for Your Emerald Green Arborvitaes

Emerald Greens are known for their moderate growth rate, typically reaching a mature height of 12 to 15 feet and a spread of 3 to 4 feet within 10 to 15 years. Pruning is minimal and generally only necessary to maintain shape or remove damaged branches. The best time to prune is in the late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

Pruning Techniques

Prune Emerald Greens by lightly trimming the sides to shape as needed, avoiding cutting into older, woodier branches that do not resprout well. This light pruning helps maintain its dense foliage and conical shape, enhancing its natural beauty.

Fertilizing Emerald Green Arborvitaes

Emerald Green Arborvitaes are popular due to their dense, bright green foliage, and as with all plants, they require appropriate nutrition to maintain their health and vibrant color. Fertilizing these trees should be done carefully to avoid overfeeding. A balanced, slow-release fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 is ideal and should be applied in early spring and again in early to mid-summer to support growth phases. Watering the soil deeply after applying fertilizer is important to help distribute the nutrients.

Incorporating the Emerald Thuja Into Your Landscape

Due to their dense, vertical growth, Emerald Greens are perfect for tight spaces and can be used effectively as privacy screens or decorative hedges in even the smallest areas. Their uniform shape also makes them ideal for formal garden settings, where they can be lined up along pathways or around borders to create a structured look.

As Privacy Hedges and Windbreaks

Emerald Green Arborvitae are an excellent choice for privacy hedges because they provide a dense, evergreen screen that blocks unwanted views year-round. They can also serve as effective windbreaks when planted in a row, reducing wind speed and protecting more delicate plants in the garden.

Growing in Containers

Emerald Greens can also be grown in containers on decks or patios, providing greenery and privacy where ground planting isn't possible. Choose a large enough container to accommodate the root ball with room for growth and ensure there is adequate drainage. Regular watering and an annual top-dressing with organic fertilizer will help keep them healthy.

emerald green arborvitaes planted in mass for a privacy screen

Incorporating into Landscape Plans

When incorporating Emerald Greens into your landscape, consider their vertical growth and how they can draw the eye upward or frame a house or garden feature. Plant them as a backdrop for a mixed perennial bed to add structure, or use them in pairs to flank an entryway or garden path.

Root System and Companion Planting

The root system of the Emerald Green is relatively non-aggressive, making it safe to plant near structures or walkways. Companion plants that work well with Emerald Greens include flowering perennials such as Astilbe, which thrives in the dappled shade provided by the arborvitae, and low-growing shrubs like Boxwood for a varied texture in the garden.

Shop Emerald Green Arborvitaes Online Today

In conclusion, Arborvitae Emerald Green offers much more than just privacy and aesthetic appeal. Its versatility, ease of care, and compact growth make it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add a reliable evergreen to their landscape. Whether you're designing a formal garden or need a natural screen for your backyard, Emerald Green Arborvitae is a stellar option.