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American Arborvitae Trees for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

  • American Arborvitae Tree
  • American Arborvitae Tree
  • American Arborvitae Tree
  • American Arborvitae Tree
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Thuja occidentalis
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The American Arborvitae Tree should be one of the first plant options you consider whenever you need to create privacy, block harsh winds or establish a dependable green backdrop for the rest of your garden. This plant, Thuja occidentalis, is so reliable for those uses that it is one of the most widely-used evergreens by landscape professionals and hobbyist gardeners alike. Plant one in your yard, and soon you'll find this plant thriving with little need for frequent maintenance. 

  • The American Arborvitae is one of the most reliable privacy plants you can own. 
  • It has minimal need for pruning and low water needs.
  • The foliage provides the perfect evergreen backdrop for other, showier plants.

Plant Care

Sunlight

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The American Arborvitae Tree should receive about six to eight hours of direct light per day.

Watering

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Water weekly when this plant is young. When mature, this tree has decent drought tolerance.

Fertilizing

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Apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in early spring each year.

Planting and Care

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by John Haryasz | Horticulture Writer and Landscape Designer – last update on September 16, 2022

Planting instructions

Plant your American Arborvitae Tree in a location that receives full sunlight, at least six hours of direct light per day. The best soil for this plant is moist, well-draining and somewhat acidic, but with that said, this species can adapt to many different types of soil just fine. To plant your American Arborvitae Tree, dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball is tall and at least twice as wide. Water while you backfill and cover the area with a two to three-inch layer of mulch when you finish.

Watering and nutrients

After planting your American Arborvitae Tree, you should water it weekly to help the roots establish themselves. After establishment, this tree will develop good drought tolerance, meaning that you may not need to offer supplemental water at all. However, some gardeners still choose to give this plant water when the first several inches of soil have dried out. Also, this tree can go without fertilizer but will exhibit the best growth when it receives a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once per year during early spring.

Pollination

You should not expect your American Arborvitae Tree to bloom with spectacular flowers each year, but that does not mean that this plant doesn’t bloom at all. Instead, the American Arborvitae Tree blooms with small inconspicuous flowers, including both male and female flowers on the same plant, which allows for self-pollination. Like other cone-bearing evergreen plant species, the American Arborvitae Tree spreads its pollen via the wind rather than relying on pollinator insects like many other plants.

Pruning

Many gardeners get by without pruning their American Arborvitae Tree at all. The reason for this is that this species takes on a neat and regular form without the need for any shaping. However, pruning once per year in early spring can foster good health in this plant. When pruning, the main goal is to remove any branches or foliage that are dead, damaged or diseased. After addressing those issues, you can perform some light shearing to the most external layers of foliage to enhance the plant’s overall shape.

Pests and diseases

It is possible for an American Arborvitae Tree to experience both pest and disease issues. Regarding pests, leaf miners and spider mites are some of the most common. On the disease side, the American Arborvitae Tree usually faces threats in the form of tip blight and root rot. The second of those issues is often the result of heavy soils that don’t allow for drainage or general overwatering. Along with those issues, your American Arborvitae Tree may also experience deer browsing.

Achieving maximum results

The American Arborvitae Tree is incredibly common in residential landscapes but can be surprisingly versatile as well. While it often serves as an excellent hedge plant or as a form of background greenery, the American Arborvitae can also stand out as a focal point as well. The combination of its neat form and its lovely foliage can make an attractive impression. Also, you should be wary of pruning too much as it does not sprout from old wood and pruning too far back could result in permanent bare patches.

FAQs

How fast does the American Arborvitae Tree grow?

The American Arborvitae Tree is a fast-growing species. In an average year, it will increase its size by about one to two feet when growing conditions are right. Fast growth is one of the main selling points of the American Arborvitae Tree, as that trait allows this plant to provide privacy and wind protection in a relatively short time. The quick growth of the plant also allows it to reach impressive heights in just a few years.

What are some other names for the American Arborvitae Tree?

The American Arborvitae Tree is a plant that can go by one of several names. Those names include but are not limited to the northern white cedar, eastern white cedar, eastern arborvitae, and the botanical name: Thuja occidentalis. The term “arborvitae” also translates to mean: "tree of life." That name was inspired by the fact that this plant can provide vitamin C and is the source of several types of medicine.

How much spacing does an American Arborvitae Tree need?

The spacing you use when planting an American Arborvitae Tree will depend on the style in which you are planting it. If you wish to create a continuous hedge, you should plant your American Arborvitae Trees with about three to five feet of spacing, which will allow your hedge to fill in quickly. If you wish to have your American Arborvitae Tree stand alone, you should give it at least ten feet of spacing in all directions, as this tree can become quite tall and broad at maturity.

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Mature height
25-40 ft.
Mature width
5-10 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Full Sun
Growth rate
Moderate
Botanical name
Thuja occidentalis
Shipping exclusions
AZ
Grows Well In Zones
3-7
map
Growing Zones: 3-7 i Growing zones help determine if a particular plant is likely to grow well in a location. It identifies the average annual minimum winter temperatures across the U.S. provided as a map by the USDA.
(hardy down to -10°F)

American Arborvitae Trees

Thuja occidentalis
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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