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'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees

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'Emerald Green' Arborvitae

'Emerald Green' Arborvitae

Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden

Plant Taxonomy of 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae:

Plant taxonomy classifies 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae under Thuja occidentalis. 'Emerald Green' arborvitae is one of its cultivars. The common name for these conifers is often misspelled, "arbor vitae" (technically, when spelled as two words, it's a part of the human anatomy, not a tree). The term is Latin and means "tree of life," due to the alleged medicinal value of its resin. Oddly, this is a case in which a plant's common name and scientific name, while different, are both Latin!

Plant Type for 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae:

'Emerald Green' arborvitae is an evergreen in the Cypress family (Cupressaceae). Although some might say they are, technically, tall shrubs, they are commonly referred to as "trees."

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones for 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees:

'Emerald Green' arborvitae should be grown in zones 2-7.

Characteristics of 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees:

'Emerald Green' arborvitae usually reaches just 12'-14', with a spread of 3'-4'. Its foliage comes in flat sprays and, if you look closely, the needles appear covered in scales. It's not the fastest grower in its group (that would be the 'Green Giant' cultivar), but the trade-off is that its size is often just about right for a privacy hedge.

Plant Care for 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees:

If the typical dimensions for this plant are still too big for your needs, they can be pruned in early spring (before any new growth) to a size with which you are more comfortable. Since this tree is not drought-tolerant, water well during hot summers and mulch generously to hold in some of that water.

Sun and Soil Requirements for 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees:

Although not drought-tolerant, 'Emerald Green' arborvitae does fine in full sun (it doesn't mind partial shade, however). Grow in a well-drained soil.

Uses for 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees in Landscaping:

A slim tree of medium height, 'Emerald Green' arborvitae is often planted in a row -- as a decorative border planting, windbreak or privacy screen. It's big enough to act as a screen without being so big as to be overwhelming, unlike the fast-growing 'Green Giant,' which grows to be 50-60 feet tall with a a width of 12-20 feet.

Because it is evergreen, its usefulness in any of these capacities extends throughout the year in the North. Occasionally, the tree is also used as a specimen.

Leyland Cypress vs. 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae Trees:

Its cold hardiness makes 'Emerald Green' arborvitae a solid choice for Northern landscapers, who might otherwise use Leyland cypress, a favorite in zone 6 and higher. 'Emerald Green' arborvitae would also be the choice over Leyland cypress in cases where a tall tree would be inappropriate. Whereas the latter reaches at least 60' at maturity, 'Emerald Green' arborvitae usually reaches just 12'-14'. These differences notwithstanding, the two trees have a similar look and are both popular, particularly as "living wall" privacy screens.

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