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Facts on Emerald Green Arborvitae

By YaShekia King ; Updated September 21, 2017

The emerald green arborvitae is a common screening hedge plant, also known as smaragd arborvitae or a white cedar. Because it is dense, it is useful for natural screens, hedges and non-thorny barriers. This plant is broadly pyramidal and is very tolerant to urban conditions such as pollution.


The emerald green arborvitae is an evergreen tree that grows to 15 feet tall and has a width of 4 to 5 feet. Once established, the tree gains 6 to 9 inches of new growth annually. The tree's leaves are small and scale-like. Foliage is bright green and soft and appears in vertical fan-like sprays.


Emerald green arborvitaes require full or partial sun.; they do not grow well in shade. They prefer well-drained loamy soil, but keep the soil watered well when you first plant the emerald green arborvitae. The emerald green arborvitae, however, is able to adapt to adverse soil conditions including soils of varying pH levels. The hedge essentially is heat- and drought-tolerant as well.

Other Information

The emerald green arborvitae is slow growing and stiff. If you cut the emerald green arborvitae into older wood, new plant foliage will not grow. It does not recover from severe pruning. However, shearing carefully is necessary to help the plant keep its size and shape.

The foliage also is highly scented when sheared. The plant is very cold hardy and maintains strong color in the winter. However, the wood of the trunk is lightweight. In addition, the hedge's brownish-red bark exfoliates on mature trunks and branches.


Spider mites can be a problem for the emerald green arborvitae, specifically in dry, hot and dusty areas. These pests can cause an emerald green arborvitae's foliage to turn yellow and speckle, but finding spider mites is difficult because they are so small. Other liabilities of arborvitaes include being prone to bagworms and their feeding damage. The plant is also susceptible to branch separation under snow and ice loads. The interior foliage of the emerald green arborvitae noticeably sheds during the fall . Heartwood rot of the interior wood is a common problem with arborvitaes.


About the Author


YaShekia King, of Indianapolis, began writing professionally in 2003. Her work has appeared in several publications including the "South Bend Tribune" and "Clouds Across the Stars," an international book. She also is a licensed Realtor and clinical certified dental assistant. King holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ball State University.