Emerald Green Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

> Emerald Green Arborvitae
Emerald Green Arborvitae2019-10-04T07:55:58+00:00
For dense evergreen hedge that holds its rich colors and sturdy form throughout the seasons, the Emerald green arborvitae is an excellent choice. A highly adaptable Thuja, it also thrives in the hotter and more humid climates of the U.S. South, making it a consistently popular hedge in that region.

A finished 6-foot InstantHedge of Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') planted in biodegradable cardboard container and ready to ship.


This finished hedge row of Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') stretches as far as the eye can see.


This finished hedge row of Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') stretches as far as the eye can see.


A row of Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') that are being grown to nearly 6' high at the InstantHedge field.


Emerald Green (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') foliage is the most naturally-dense of all the arborvitae.


This finished hedge row of Emerald Green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') stretches as far as the eye can see.

Quick Guide

Emerald green arborvitae growing region
There are a number of immediate benefits to choosing the Thuja Emerald green arborvitae for your next hedge:
  • Keeps its deep emerald color through the winter
  • Emerald green arborvitae tolerates dry spells once it is established
  • An especially great shrub for taller hedges or screens
  • Ideal for small yards and other tight areas

Thuja occidentalis Smaragd Details

With a narrow pyramidal habit, the Thuja Emerald green arborvitae has a great natural shape and also responds well to regular pruning.

The tree’s disease resistance and general resilience make it a popular low-maintenance hedge.

The Emerald green arborvitae performs well in a variety of soil and weather conditions, including snow and ice. Even the coldest of winters, the tree maintains its shape and color.

Its rich foliage and attractive narrow form make the tree an excellent choice to plant in a row for a formal screen.

Emerald green arborvitae prefers loamy, well-drained soil with consistent moisture.

The common name of arborvitae, or “tree of life”, comes from the early settlers in North America who learned from Native Americans that the tree’s foliage, sap, bark and twigs had medicinal properties.

USDA Hardiness Zones:3 - 8
Your Hardiness Zone:

Sun/Shade:Full Sun to light shade
Deer Resistance:No
Watering Requirements:Weekly, or more often in extreme heat
Growth Rate:Moderate
Mature Size:Up to 12’ height and 3’ width
Drought Tolerance:Moderate
West Coast - Sunset Heat Zones:1 - 9, 15 - 17 and 21 - 24; H1, H2
Pest/Disease Issues:
No major pest or disease issues. Leaf miner and spider mites, root rot and phytophthora are all possibilities.

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Why Plant an Emerald Green Arborvitae Hedge?

If you live anywhere between Zones 3-8, you have definitely seen Emerald Green Arborvitae. It is quite ubiquitous, which has given it something of a bad name in certain circles. We hear quite often, “I do NOT want an arborvitae hedge.” We think the main reason for this is that we often see mistreated arborvitae hedges that are either pruned incorrectly or planted in the wrong spot. When treated well, which isn’t difficult as they are very low-maintenance, They can create a truly stunning hedge that provides privacy and year-round beauty.

Growth Rate

Smaragd, or Emerald Green, is a semi-dwarf selection of Thuja occidentalis. It was selected as a seedling in Denmark in 1950. It was extremely desirable due to several features, one being its slow growth rate. Thuja Emerald Green Arborvitae can grow up to 1 foot per year, and grows nearly straight up. Pruning is extremely simple with such slow growers, and can usually be done just lightly once per year. As with most conifers, pruning should be done consistently and lightly to avoid unsightly browning. We have all seen ugly, brown arborvitae hedges that have been not-so-lovingly pruned with chain-saws. Their bare branches are exposed, and they will never grow back. It is easy to avoid this simply by pruning regularly! Green Giant Arborvitae is an excellent choice for fast growing hedge.

Growth Habit

Another desirable trait is their tall, narrow growth habit. At 10 years old, you could expect to see a plant 6-8’ tall and 18” wide. These natural pillars are perfect for creating low-maintenance hedges that fit perfectly into narrow spaces and small yards. It is best to prune once per year simply to maintain density, but you can do it very lightly.


“Smaragd” is the Danish word for “emerald”, which refers to its rich, bright color all year. It is very unusual for any kind of Arborvitae to show this kind of color at any time of year, and Smaragd boasts it year-round. It is truly striking and adds depth and richness to any garden design.


Thuja Emerald Green is a variety of American Arborvitae, which is native to the Northern United States and Canada. It is hardy to USDA Zone 3, which makes it eligible for much of the United States.

Drought and Disease Resistance

Once established, Emerald Green Arborvitae is quite drought-resistant. During the establishment period, though, ample water is important for the health of the plants. It can also withstand short periods of standing water in winter, but does best in a well-draining soil. It does best in full sun but can take a little bit of shade if needed. Since it is so dense, too much shade can cause it to lose some of its fullness and vigor. It has almost no trouble with disease, and it is very easy to grow.

Why choose InstantHedge?

Thuja Emerald Green Arborvitae grows slowly, but creates a wonderful privacy hedge. Usually people will either start small to save costs or plant very large ball and burlap plants for quick privacy. Both of these options have their own issues, with the former meaning a lot wait for privacy and potential losses, and the latter having major loss issues and planting difficulty. The top-heavy plants can also shift in the wind and soil settling, causing the hedge to become crooked.

With an Emerald Green Arborvitae InstantHedge, you can start with your ideal height and then just sit back and relax. No worrying, no fussing, no waiting. Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Be kind to yourself and get a quote for your next project today.