Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: November 15, 2007

Emerald Arborvitae (aka Emerald Green Arborvitae)
Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

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Species Native Range: Eastern United States and Canada
Hardiness: USDA Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 12-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Soil: Loose, organic, reliably moist but well-drained
Ease of Culture: Easy

Emerald Green Arborvitae (EGA) is a cultivar of our native Eastern Arborvitae. This dense pyramidal evergreen shrub has emerald green foliage that retains its color year round. The foliage has a sweet pine-like scent when pruned or bruised that is reminiscent of cut Christmas trees.

Grow EGA in full sun to light shade in soil that is rich in organic matter, moist and well-drained. Although the plant is native to moist forests and lowlands, it doesn't tolerate prolonged periods with wet roots. It is drought-tolerant once established.

Use EGA as a tall, narrow hedge, along foundations where some height is required, to flank the entrance to a garden area, as a screen, etc. This plant makes a great substitution for Leyland Cypresses which may be too large for many gardens and tend to have other problems. Arborvitaes also tolerate pruning better than some other conifers, including Leylands. When young, they make excellent plants for containers on patios, decks and porches and can be used as live Christmas trees.

This plant is frequently browsed by deer during the winter.

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