Eastern Arborvitae is a pyramidal, cone-breaing evergreen tree native to eastern North America. Its flattened sprays of dense, rich green foliage provide year-round interest. The selection Emerald (‘Smaragd’) features a compact, conical habit and bright emerald-green scaled needles that hold their color all winter, unlike many forms of the species.
Arborvitae needs full to partial sun exposures and moist, well-drained soil. Emerald is useful for screening and hedges or as a specimen or accent.
Arborvitae grows best in full sun, but will tolerate light shade. Giant arborvitae is the most shade tolerant. All prefer fertile, moist, well-drained soil.
Container grown plants and balled and burlapped plants can be set out throughout the growing season. Spacing will vary with the species and cultivar. Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. If your soil is in very poor condition, amend the soil you’ve removed from the hole with a small amount of compost. Otherwise don’t amend it at all. Carefully remove the tree from the container and set it in the hole. If you are planting a balled and burlapped plant, remove as much of the burlap as you can and snip off the wire basket if present. Fill in around the root ball with soil until the hole is about half filled. Then firm the soil and water thoroughly. Fill the hole with the remaining soil and water again. Form a raised ridge of soil around the outside edge of the hole so it acts like a berm to help hold in water. Spread mulch 2-3 inches deep over the root zone, but keep it several inches away from the trunk.
Give plants regular watering until well established, especially for the first growing season. When you water, be sure to put on enough water to soak the entire depth of the rootball, then let the top few inches of soil dry out before rewatering. Shear plants to shape and control size in early spring or early summer.
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