How to Plant Thuja Occidentalis Smaragd


Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ is a variety of evergreen arborvitae commonly called American arborvitae, or emerald green. If you have a tight area in the landscape that you need to fill, consider T. occidentalis Smaragd. In maturity, its spread is only 3 to 4 feet, with a height of 12 to 15 feet. Commonly grown as a hedge plant, this thuja is hardy to USDA Zones 2 through 7. A low maintenance shrub, it loves humidity and thrives in areas with lots of rain.

Step 1

Choose a place to plant your thuja. Although the shrub tolerates some shade, its branches will loosen and droop with too much, according to the experts at Missouri Botanical Gardens. Full sun is ideal.

Step 2

Measure the depth and diameter of the nursery pot in which the thuja is growing. Dig a planting hole that is the same depth but three times the diameter of the pot. Use a pitchfork or the shovel to lightly scrape the walls and bottom of the hole.

Step 3

Remove the thuja from the pot by laying it on its side and sliding it out. If the shrub is stuck, press lightly on the sides of the pot to loosen any roots that are clinging to the inside of it.

Step 4

Place the rootball in the hole and fill the hole a quarter of the way with soil. Fill the hole with water, allow it to drain and then add more soil until the hole is filled three-quarters of the way to the surface. Fill it again with water, allow it to drain and finish filling it with soil. The water helps to remove air pockets from the soil.

Step 5

Water the thuja until the soil is saturated. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, while the plant becomes established.

Step 6

Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch on the soil, 1/2 inch from the base of the thuja, in a 2-foot radius around the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Mulch


  • Ohio State University: Thuja Occidentalis
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Thuja Occidentalis Smaragd
  • "The Gardener’s Guide to Planting and Growing Trees"; Michael Buffin; 2007
Keywords: plant thuja occidentalis, plant emerald green, plant American arborvitae

About this Author

Victoria Hunter has been a freelance writer since 2005, providing writing services to small businesses and large corporations worldwide. She writes for, GardenGuides and ProFlowers, among others. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.