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Emerald Green Arborvitae - 6" Plantable Peat Pot
Emerald Green Arborvitae
Though many members of the thuja family grow slowly, the emerald green arborvitae is a tree that has moderate growth, which means it expands from 13 to 24 inches a year. It only grows up to 8 to 15 feet tall and about 3 to 4 feet wide. This, along with its conical or pyramidal shape makes it ideal as a hedge plant or a privacy screen. It’s also excellent in a small, urban garden that needs a bit of height or a woodland garden. The emerald green arborvitae, or Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd’ gets its name from its startling, vibrant, emerald green, evergreen leaves.
The leaves of the arborvitae are scaly and arranged in flat, fanlike, horizontal groupings. When they are crushed, they give off a pleasing, not quite fruity smell. The bark is fissured. The tiny flowers open in early spring, and the males are dark red but turn yellow when they start to shed pollen. The females are more abundant and yellowish green. When the cones arrive, they are tiny, only 1/2 inch long. At first, they’re yellow-green, but turn brown as they mature. They open up to release light, winged seeds.
The emerald green arborvitae is a tree that appreciates warm climates, so it does best in hardiness zones 4 to 8. It needs full sun and thrives in fertile, loamy soil that drains well. It helps to add mulch and protect a young plant from winds that could dry it out. If it’s planted as a hedge, the plants should be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart. Until it’s established, the emerald green arborvitae should be regularly and deeply watered. When it’s set, it should be fertilized and pruned in spring, though some gardeners prefer to leave the tree unpruned.
Another reason to have the emerald green arborvitae in a garden is that it retains its bright color all through winter. This is different even from other evergreen trees whose needles or leaves may turn a little dull during the cold weather.