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How To Grow and Care for Emerald Green Arborvitae?

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Want a low-maintenance evergreen tree to beautify your outdoor space?

Emerald Green Arborvitae is the answer.

Its stunning foliage and easy-care nature make it the perfect addition to any landscape.

We’ll walk you through how to grow and care for it so you can enjoy its beauty for years.

What Is Emerald Green Arborvitae?

Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis’ Smaragd’) is a narrow, cone-shaped evergreen tree commonly used for hedging, screening, and privacy purposes.

Its dense foliage consists of flat sprays of scale-like leaves that range from bright green in the spring and summer to bronze green in the fall and winter.

One of the key features of Emerald Green Arborvitae is its slow growth rate, making it an excellent option for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance tree that won’t quickly outgrow its space.

This tree typically grows at a rate of 6 to 9 inches (15-23 cm) per year and reaches a mature height of 10 to 15 feet (3-4.5 m) with a spread of 3 to 4 feet (0.9-1.2 m).

Emerald Green Arborvitae is a popular choice for landscaping due to its durability and ability to thrive in various conditions.

It is adaptable to different soil types, including clay, loam, and sand, and can tolerate full sun and partial shade.

Meet Tiny Tim: Arborvitae’s Sister Cultivar

If you’re looking for a more compact variety, consider Emerald Green Arborvitae’s sister cultivar, ‘Tiny Tim.’ This cultivar is a miniature version of Emerald Green Arborvitae and reaches a mature height of only 3 to 4 feet (0.9-1.2 m).

Growing Emerald Green Arborvitae

Thuja Occidentalis Smaragd
Source: Wikimedia

Emerald Green Arborvitae is a slow-growing shrub/tree that can gain between 6 to 9 inches (15-23 cm) each year until it reaches maturity under ideal conditions.

Here is how to grow green arborvitae.

Soil Preparation and Planting

Emerald Green Arborvitae prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

The soil’s pH level should be between 6.0 and 8.0 and not be too alkaline or too acidic.

If your soil is not ideal, you can amend it by adding compost or other organic matter.

Spacing and Planting Recommendations

When planting Emerald Green Arborvitae, give each tree enough space to grow. Space them about 3 to 4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) apart for proper air circulation.

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. After planting, water the tree deeply to help it establish its roots.

Watering and Fertilization

Young Emerald Green Arborvitae trees require regular watering to establish a robust root system.

Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions.

Once the tree is established, it can tolerate some drought conditions. But make sure not to let the soil dry out completely.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Emerald Green Arborvitae doesn’t require much fertilizer, but you can boost it by applying a slow-release fertilizer in the spring.

Avoid fertilizing in the fall or winter, as this can stimulate new growth that may not have time to harden off before winter.

Mulching Tips

Mulching around the tree’s base can help retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.

Leave a few inches of space between the mulch and the tree trunk to prevent moisture buildup and potential rot.

Sunlight Requirements

Emerald Green Arborvitae thrives in total sun exposure, but it can also tolerate some shade.

Plant it in an area that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Shade Tolerance

While Emerald Green Arborvitae can tolerate some shade, it may grow less densely and slowly than trees that receive more sunlight.

Pruning and Maintenance

Emerald Green Arborvitae requires minimal pruning, but you can prune it to shape it or remove any dead or damaged branches.

Prune in the late winter or early spring before new growth appears.

Avoid pruning in the fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may need more time to harden off before winter.

Tools and Techniques for Pruning

Use sharp pruning shears or loppers to make clean cuts.

Cut just above a bud or lateral branch to encourage new growth in the desired direction.

Avoid cutting back into old wood, as this can prevent new growth.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Trees

Small Thuja Occidentalis Smaragd
Source: Wikimedia

In addition to proper watering, fertilization, and pruning, you can maintain healthy Emerald Green Arborvitae trees by monitoring for pests and diseases, such as spider mites, bagworms, or canker diseases.

Regularly inspect the trees for any signs of damage or discoloration and take appropriate action if necessary.

Common Problems with Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae is a hardy and low-maintenance plant that is not immune to problems.

You might encounter some common issues when growing and caring for these trees.

Pest Infestations

Some of the most common pests that can infest Emerald Green Arborvitae include spider mites, bagworms, aphids, and scales.

How To Identify and Treat Pest Infestations?

Look for signs such as discoloration, yellowing or browning of needles, webbing, or small insects on the plant.

Treatment options include insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils, pruning infested branches, or using beneficial insects to control the pest population.


The most common diseases affecting Emerald Green Arborvitae include root rot, canker, and blight.

Symptoms and Treatment Options

Symptoms include discolored or wilting foliage, dead branches, and a general decline in the plant’s health.

Treatment options include fungicides, pruning, and improving soil drainage to prevent root rot.

Environmental Stressors

Drought, extreme temperatures, and poor soil conditions can cause stress in Emerald Green Arborvitae.

Symptoms include wilting foliage, stunted growth, and discoloration.

Proper watering and fertilization, mulching, and improving soil drainage can help prevent this stress.

If stress has already occurred, consider pruning damaged branches and providing shade or wind protection to help the plant recover.


Growing and caring for Emerald Green Arborvitae is a rewarding experience for any gardener.

With proper attention to soil, water, sunlight, pruning, and maintenance, these trees can thrive and bring beauty to any landscape.

Remember, growing is not just about the result but also about the journey.

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