Arborvitae DeGroot's Spire
Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire'
Arborvitae Degroot's Spire is a narrow upright very fastigiate form of Eastern arborvitae with medium-green, twisted foliage. The outline is less smooth and symmetrical than most other upright arborvitae making it even more interesting. This cultivar is quite suitable as a solitary exclamation point in the garden or for use as a formal hedge.
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An exceptional selection of the eastern arborvitae, Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire is very popular because of its narrow, columnar form with dense green foliage that sometimes twists and layers over itself. This conifer, of intermediate size, is often used for hedging, screening, or as a single specimen.
Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire are a dense evergreen shrub with a long life. They have no serious insect pest problems in our area, as well as no common leaf diseases or blights. They’re tolerant of our local alkaline soils and don’t have any difficulty enduring our scorching summer or cold winter conditions.
Most people use the Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire as a privacy barrier to block out noisy neighbors. The Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire only grows 18 to 20 feet tall, so it’s perfect for medium to large landscaping areas. If you want to create a privacy barrier with the Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire we would recommend that you plant 2′-3′ feet apart and follow our planting instructions. Arborvitae trees are a deep and rich green color year-round, which displays how robust they are. Like the Leyland Cypress, their foliage grows in flat sprays and, close up, the needles appear covered in fine green scales.
The Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire is a perfect evergreen for smaller spaces as well due to its compact width. Grow these trees as living screens that won’t overpower your entire lawn and garden with their size. The Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire grows to a mature height of eighteen to twenty high by 4 to 5 feet wide, and it grows between one and one and half feet per year under optimum growing conditions.
For best results, plant these trees six feet apart to enjoy their columnar shape or three feet apart for a dense hedge.
Arborvitae ranges from Nova Scotia to Manitoba south through the Great Lakes region and along the Appalachians to North Carolina and Tennessee. In the north it tends to be closely aligned with low, acidic, wet areas such as river banks and bog edges. At its mountainous southern extent it becomes altogether less common and more likely found on limestone cliffs.
This species, seldom sought by lumbermen (besides those used for cabin roofing shingles) because of its “weakness,” had been the premier wood for canoe frames for millennia. Its tendency to separate at the growth rings provided thin, super lightweight, flexible and rot resistant material that could easily be shaped into ribs or used for planking.
Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire is widely adaptable and there are a great variety of sizes available from which to choose. It performs well in humid regions. Provide a site with full to partial sunlight, on consistently moist soil. Heavy clay and light sandy soils should be well amended with organic matter to improve drainage and water retention respectively. Arborvitae Degroot’s Spire trees grow best in full sun, but they can withstand partial shade (afternoon sun is best in this case).
History and Lore of the Arborvitae
The name “arborvitae” means “tree of life” in Latin and was applied to the Eastern species, Thuja occidentalis, by early french explorers who noted that Native Americans used its foliage for medicinal purposes. Eastern arborvitae is the species most commonly used in Midwestern yards, although green giant arborvitae (T. plicata), a larger Western species, is also popular because “it has a reputation for being more deer-resistant,” Riske says. For the living tree the name arborvitae, which means “tree of life,” was given by French explorers who had been cured of scurvy by local native people using tea made of the foliage and sap that is rich in vitamin C. Because of his appreciation for this medicinal tree of the new world, Jacques Cartier sent specimens home to be grown in France in the mid-1500s.As for longevity, the name arborvitae is a perfect fit in this regard as well. Members of this species are the oldest trees in eastern North America. Although they once were believed to be a short lived tree, some of the gnarly, ancient cliff-dwelling specimens have been aged at more than 1000 years. Arborvitae Emerald Green (Thuja occidentalis) was one of the first North American native trees to be cultivated in Europe. Its common name was a symbol of its importance to weary travelers, more so than its own long life. Such a commonly used landscape plant rarely has the romantic appeal of this one.