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Boxwood & Boxwood Substitutes Compare
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Green Mountain
Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x ‘Green Mountain’) is an extremely popular boxwood. It has great cold tolerance and is one of the most naturally resistant to Boxwood Blight. It is deer and rabbit resistant and grows well in full sun to shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.
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Schmidt
Schmidt Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Schmidt’) is a lesser-known boxwood variety but has a desirable tall and narrow growth habit making it great for hedging. It is deer resistant and grows in full sun to partial shade. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8.
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Box Honeysuckle
Box Honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida) is lovely hedge in its own right but also makes a great boxwood substitute for areas with Boxwood Blight. The foliage is evergreen and very similar to boxwood. It is deer resistant, takes full sun to full shade, and grows in USDA Zones 6-9.
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Hick's Yew
Hicks Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’) is the best hedge for deep shade locations, although it also thrives in full sun. This is a naturally narrow plant, so it is good for small spaces. It has evergreen needles and bright red fruits. Hicks Yew is hardy to USDA Zones 5-8.
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Little Simon
Little Simon Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Simon’) is a dwarf selection of Emerald Green that only reaches 3-4’ tall. It is a great boxwood substitute for colder regions and blight-susceptible areas. It grows best in full sun and is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.
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Teton Firethorn
Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha ‘Teton’) is an evergreen hedge that boasts billows of white flowers in spring, followed by bright orange fruits that feed birds through winter. Sharp thorns keep deer away. It grows well in full sun to shade and is hardy in USDA Zones 6-9.
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Sizes
Our hedges come in multiple, convenient sizes. Learn about which hedge size option will work best for your project, from our 18-24” tall MiniHedge to our 5-6’ tall InstantHedge. See detailed dimensions for all of our different hedge sizes, including root balls.
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Containers
You have multiple options for the kind of container in which your InstantHedge is shipped. Learn about our standard Biodegradable Cardboard Boxes, as well as the fabric bag and cedar box options. This page will lead you to the best choice for your project.
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Installation
InstantHedge is a unique product and the planting process is very unlike installing a traditional hedge. This page takes you step by step through the easy process of how to plant an InstantHedge. No doubt about it, it’s the fastest way to plant a hedge.
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About Us
Learn about our company’s past and present, and all about how we introduced this revolutionary product to the US market. You can also get a peek at our farm and meet our team of hedge experts who make all the hedge magic happen!
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Distributors
Find out where you can purchase our hedges in your area, whether you are a retail or wholesale buyer. We have exclusive wholesale distributors in some states, and this is where you can connect with them.
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Projects
See real-life examples of our hedges being used in projects all over the country. These photos are provided by our customers and can be used as inspiration for a wide range of uses, from commercial to residential. You can find customer reviews here as well.
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FAQ
Got questions? Of course you do! And chances are, many others have had the same questions. We know that with an unusual product like our hedges there are always many questions. We answer some common questions here on this FAQ page, so it’s a great place to start.
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Arborvitae hedges are extremely popular hedge varieties for screening and privacy due to their evergreen foliage, dense growth habit, lush green color, hardiness, and ease of maintenance. Arborvitae is a fast growing evergreen hedge which is easy to care to use for privacy and screening purpose. Evergreen arborvitae hedge is hard to beat if it’s about getting richly-green handsome appearance for the landscape.

There are many varieties of arborvitaes to choose from, including Green Giant (Thuja x ‘Green Giant’) and Emerald Green Arborvitaes (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’).

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4 Varieties of Arborvitae

Green Giant Arborvitae

Thuja x. 'Green Giant'

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Thuja Occidentalis 'Smaragd'

Western Red Cedar

Thuja Plicata 'Virescens'

American Arborvitae
American Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis

THEY’RE JUST THE SAME…ONLY DIFFERENT

Different types of arborvitae varieties are prized for different reasons, but the main thing persists: you can’t beat the dense growth and beautiful, dark green foliage. The differences include hardiness zones, growth rates, growth habits, maintenance, light requirements, and deer resistance. See different types of hedges. Buy Arborvitae trees for Sale at InstantHedge Oregon.

HARDINESS

Cold hardiness obviously makes a big difference on where different varieties of arborvitae hedges can be grown. In general, the hedge is used a lot in the Northern and Midwestern US due to their tolerance for cold temperatures.

Arborvitae trees for sale

THUJA OCCIDENTALIS

Aka Thuja Occidentalis is extremely cold-hardy, thriving in USDA Zones 2-8! This applies for the straight species as well we the variety Emerald Green.

green giant arborvitae growing conditions

GREEN GIANT ARBORVITAE

is a hybrid between Thuja plicata and Thuja standishii. It is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8, which still covers a lot of the colder regions of the US and can grow further south than Thuja occidentalis.

mature arborvitae trees for sale

VIRESCENS WESTERN RED CEDAR

Aka Thuja Occidentalis is extremely cold-hardy, thriving in USDA Zones 2-8! This applies for the straight species as well we the variety Emerald Green.

ARBORVITAE GROWTH RATE

There is a big difference in growth rate with Cedar that is important to consider when choosing a variety for a hedge.

Arborvitae hedge

Green Giant Arborvitae grows at an incredibly fast rate; up to several feet per year in the right growing conditions! Use when fast height is of the utmost importance and there is ample room for width as well. This plant will require pruning to keep it under control.

arborvitae growth rate

American Arborvitae and Virescens Western Red Cedar are medium-rate growers, increasing by 1-2 feet per year in optimum growing conditions. Use when fast height is important, but width space is limited and/or less pruning is desired.

Arborvitae hedge

Emerald Green Arborvitae is the slowest grower of the Arborviate group. The bad news is it will take longer for these to reach towering heights to provide second story privacy. The good news is that you will have optimum density and minimal pruning needed.

GROWTH HABIT OF ARBORVITAE

Looking at the plant’s natural growth habit can help guide decisions as well. From looking at the diagram below, you can see that the Green Giant will fill out a big space faster than any other variety but will need intensive pruning to maintain in a smaller space, while the Emerald Green will take some time to fill out a big space but will be incredibly low-maintenance in a small space. The growth rate of arborvitae differs from variety to variety.

Arborvitae varieties

VIRESCENS WESTERN RED CEDAR

Green Giant Arborvitae

arborvitae types

THUJA X GREEN GIANT

American Arborvitae

arborvitae variety

THUJA PLICATA ‘VIRESCENS’

Virescens Western Red Cedar

arborvitae types.

Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’

Emerald Green Arborvitae

ARBORVITAE CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Talking about the care of arborvitae, they are generally quite low-maintenance, needing little to no supplemental water and light pruning. As we have discussed, however, some varieties grow a lot faster than others and will require more intensive pruning if a small, manicured hedge is desired. It is very important not to let the arborvitae hedges get very large and then prune hard to regain control, as Thujas have limited latent buds and will not “fill in” like other hedge types. We have all seen the very ugly result of this poor management practice. Keep on top of it and you won’t have any issues!

Emerald Green Arborvitae has the lowest pruning requirements than other varieties (maybe of any plant!) to maintain as a tight hedge. Prune lightly once per year or as needed to shape.
mature arborvitae trees for sale
Thuja Occidentalis and Virescens Western Red Cedar will need yearly pruning to keep at an appropriate hedge size. These make wonderful mid-sized hedges.
Green Giant Arborvitae
is the most vigorous grower of the group and will in some years require 2 prunings to keep to a small size. This is a good option for a privacy hedge as it will reach a large size quickly.

ARBORVITAE PRUNING TIP

Prune the top half of the arborvitae hedge to be slightly more narrow than the bottom half. This will prevent the lower foliage from shading out and will keep your hedge uniformly beautiful for years to come!

ARBORVITAE PRUNING

LIGHT REQUIREMENTS

Sun/shade requirements also make a difference when choosing the right from arborvitae types for your space. When a plant grows as tightly as these varieties, they tend to do poorly in overly shady environments. Poor air circulation and damp conditions cause the inner foliage to stay wet, providing a perfect place to harbor disease.There are some more shade-tolerant varieties along with the sun-lovers, shown in the following table:

light requirements

EMERALD GREEN ARBORVITAE

needs full sun to stay healthy since it has extremely dense growth

light requirements

AMERICAN ARBORVITAE

and Virescens Western Red Cedar can both grow in full sun to partial shade.

light requirements

GREEN GIANT ARBORVITAE

can grow in full sun, partial shade, or mostly shady environments, due to its loose and vigorous growth.

DEER RESISTANCE

Arborvitae carries varying levels of deer-resistance. Although there is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed deer-resistant , Green Giant does come pretty close!

Evergreen Arborvitae hedge at best prices

GREEN GIANT ARBORVITAE

is deer-resistant. It can also be used to create a deer-proof hedge around other deer-favorites!

deer resistance

VIRESCENS WESTERN RED CEDAR

is not a deer favorite by any means. Very hungry deer may nibble, but they won’t be back for more.

evergreen arborvitae at best prices

EMERALD GREEN ARBORVITAE

and Thuja Occidentalis are, unfornuately, well-loved by deer as well as humans. Other varieties should be considered for deer-heavy areas.

DESIGNING WITH ARBORVITAE

Cedar have a wide range of uses, no secret to any landscape designer! They can be used alone as unpruned or topiaried specimens, and they are also excellent for hedging. Privacy hedges, lining driveways, and creating garden rooms are some of the best uses for this hedge. You can explore more hedging plants.

Arborvitae

Privacy Hedges

The dense habit of this hedge means unparalleled privacy when used as a screen.

Lining Driveways

Driveways get a stylish upgrade when lined with a luxurious cedar Hedge.

Lining Driveways
dark green arborvitae

Garden Rooms

Different areas of a garden become more useful when designated for specific purposes. Section off a quiet area for reading and deep conversations with a tall arborvitae.