Are Emerald Green arborvitae fast growing?
This semi-dwarf Thuja hedge, unlike some coniferous hedges, isn't a particularly fast grower. Emerald Green arborvitae can grow up to one foot per year, landing at an impressive height of 10 to 15 feet. However, these hedge plants are easy to maintain by pruning: a yearly trim will keep them at their desired height and shape.
The slow growth rate of these gorgeous privacy trees can actually be a benefit: they won't become leggy or "furry" in appearance." Emerald Green is a semi-dwarf arborvitae variety, so it won't develop that shaggy, unkept "insta hedge" look that other arborvitae varieties sometimes have. These beautiful conifers aren't instant hedges, but their look is well worth the wait.
How fast do Emerald Green arborvitae grow per year?
Emerald Green Arborvitae hedges can grow up to one foot per year, but are easy to maintain by pruning. Eventually, they can reach heights of 10 to 15 feet — the perfect size for naturally beautiful first-floor privacy fencing. Arborvitae have long been used to provide privacy and shade for indoor and outdoor spaces: with a well-lined perimeter, you can enjoy the quiet backyard you've always dreamed of!
These arborvitae hedges don't tend to grow particularly wide, and maintain their narrow shape with minimal pruning. You can expect a spread of 36 to 48 inches on your Emerald Green arborvitae, and you can plant them relatively close together. We recommend spacing them of 24 to 36 inches apart.
Do Emerald Green arborvitae have invasive roots?
If you're worried about nearby foundations or septic systems, you're in luck: the Emerald Green arborvitae does not have particularly invasive roots. Just as Emerald Green arborvitae plants don't spread out above ground, they stay relatively compact below the surface. You won't be calling for sewer service due to these plants!
However, you do need to consider drainage when you decide where to locate your arborvitae. These hedges don't like soggy feet, and their roots can rot when too much water is combined with poor drainage. Don't plant them in low, wet parts of the yard, and make sure that downspouts and drainage ditches don't empty onto your arborvitae.
How do you prune an Emerald Green arborvitae?
Another advantage to this arborvitae cultivar? It won't overwhelm your landscape with too much horizontal growth. Emerald Green will grow to a maximum width of 3' to 4' wide, with minimal pruning. Arborvitae are beloved for their ability to naturally maintain an aesthetically-pleasing, neat, and conical shape. But, these plants are also amenable to pruning, as long as you plan ahead.
If you do want to change the shape of your Emerald Green arborvitae, it may be helpful to set a goal before pulling out the shears. If you want to shorten a tall hedge, you may want to do so in the spring: the plant can maintain itself throughout the summer. If you're planning to majorly shorten your hedgerow, cut it in late winter, before nutrients start to travel up the leaves and branches. If you want to prune your hedges in order to maintain an ornamental look, prune in the late summer before cool weather sets in. That way, your arborvitae tree will have time to grow a few shoots before the winter, and its edges will harden off before the frost.
When you prune an arborvitae, be sure not to prune the limbs all the way to the branch — bare limbs are unlikely to become green again. Instead, keep your cuts within green wood, so that the plant will be able to fill itself back in. Cut overgrown edges slightly behind the "sight line" — the desired edge to your plant's bushiness. And, be sure to keep the base of the arborvitae wider than the top. Not only will a conical shape help you avoid the dreaded "hot dog" look, conifers grow conically for a reason: the pyramidal shape allows the sun to reach all levels of the tree.