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Everything You Need to Know About Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees

Emerald Green Arborvitae are hardy, resilient trees that can stand up to drought, insects, and extreme temperatures—all while making excellent accent trees, foundation plants, or privacy screens.

Author Image Written by Brenda Woods Updated 02/17/2024

Emerald Green Arborvitae trees are glossy-green evergreens that can do it all with little to no supervision. Whether you’re looking for an elegant accent for your lawn, a stylish foundation plant, or a robust privacy hedge, the adaptable Emerald Green Arborvitae is the answer. These trees grow quickly and, once established, maintain their shape and color year-round. Even better—they can tolerate drought and resist insects and disease.

Emerald Green Arborvitae at a Glance

Good for accents, privacy hedges, and foundation plants
Green year-round
Resistant to extreme temperatures, insects, and disease
Good size and width for smaller yards and narrower spaces


Emerald Green Arborvitae trees, also known as ‘Smaragd’ due to their Danish origins, grow in a narrow pyramid shape, eventually to 10-15 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide. Their size makes them ideal foundation plants and natural privacy screens in smaller yards and narrow spaces. These trees can grow up to 1-2 feet per year until established and then grow 6-9 inches per year.

Emerald Green Arborvitae trees’ dense green, scale-shaped foliage is colorful year-round and fans out in feather-like sprays.

All About Emerald Green Arborvitae



Narrow, pyramidal shape with soft green sprays of scale-like leaves


10-15 feet

Hardiness Zones


Type of tree


Sunlight requirements

Full sun to partial shade, minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight per day

Soil composition

Adaptable, but preference for well-drained loamy soil with neutral to alkaline pH


25 years

Ideal Hardiness Zones

USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the best regions to plant various species, with 11 total regions. Emerald Green Arborvitae does well in Zones 2-8, performing better in cold regions than some other evergreens. The only regions where it struggles are the West Coast, along the Deep South and Florida.


The best time to plant an Emerald Green Arborvitae is in fall, when the tree will face minimal heat stress and not struggle to grow. Choose a location where the tree will receive full sunlight ideally, or partial shade if necessary.

Remove any weeds, turfgrass, and debris from the area. Then, loosen the soil with a spade. Dig a hole that is about twice the width of the root ball of your Emerald Green Arborvitae but no deeper than the root ball’s height.

Take the root ball out of the container you received it in and tease it apart gently, then set it in the hole. The root ball should be slightly higher than the soil surrounding it. Backfill the hole carefully—if the soil is too tight, the roots may suffocate. Set down a 2-3 inch layer of mulch or compost to retain soil moisture.

Water your tree twice a week until it is established. Then, it will need roughly ½-1 inch of water per week.


If you’re creating a natural privacy screen or wind break with Emerald Green Arborvitae, plant the trees 3-4 feet apart from one another. These hassle-free, tidy groupings of trees will grow narrow and pyramidal, so you won’t have to worry about pruning or trimming unless you want to.

Growing Conditions

Emerald Green Arborvitae are very low-maintenance once they’ve been established, tolerating a range of soil types, differing amounts of sunlight, and even extreme temperatures.

Emerald Green Arborvitae thrive in full sun but can grow in partial shade as well. Too much shade will lead to sparse growth. To flourish, these trees need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
Emerald Green Arborvitae fare better in dry, cool climates. If the air is too humid, they may be susceptible to a fungal disease. However, once established, Emerald Green Arborvitae are moderately drought-resistant and are cold hardy, able to tolerate snow and ice.
These trees are highly adaptable, able to live in a variety of different soil types. However, their preference is consistently moist, well-drained loamy soils with neutral or alkaline pH levels in the range of 6-8.
For the first few months after you plant your Emerald Green Arborvitae, it will need to be watered twice weekly. After that, you can transition to watering ½-1 inch per week. Watering the right amount is imperative. Too little, and the leaves brown or yellow. Too much, and the tree may suffer from root rot.
Emerald Green Arborvitae do not require pruning, but trimming the leafy growths of branches in early spring can encourage thicker, denser growth. Some people prune Emerald Green Arborvitae into spiral topiaries. However, you should always remove dead and diseased branches as soon as you spot them.
In general, these trees don’t need to be fed. But if your tree is looking sparse and you’d like to boost growth, use a slow-release, balanced fertilizer with an NPK value of 10-10-10 in spring.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast do they grow per year?

These trees grow about 1-2 feet per year until they are established. Then, they grow about 6-9 inches per year until they reach a maximum height of 10-15 feet.

How do I care for Emerald Green Arborvitae?

Caring for your tree requires minimal effort. When planting your tree, make sure it is in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Can they be trimmed?

You can trim Emerald Green Arborvitae, especially if you want to shape them as a privacy hedge.

How can I make my Emerald Green Arborvitae grow faster?

You can boost growth by using a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring.

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