Milan, Illinois
Trees, Shrubs, Perennials, Seeds Shipped To Your Door

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American Arborvitae Culture

Thuja occidentalis


Light: full sun
Grows well in ordinary soils and does especially well in swampy areas and alkaline soils.  Hardy zones 3-7. 

Space 4-5 feet for dense screen or hedge.  Prune as necessary.  Most do not need any.  Can be sheared to shape if desired.

Pruning Arborvitae:

Pruning is best done once in the fall or early winter. If pruned in the summer, the tips of the pruned branches can turn an unsightly brown. If you can't prune them in the fall or winter, do so early in the season while new growth is still appearing.


Some winter browning may occur in zone 3 during severe winters.  Keeping well watered into winter can help avoid this as will a thick layer of mulch under the tree.

Plant plants in spring or fall.  Very rugged!

Starting from seed:

Each packet contains 25 +/- "cones".  Each of these cones contains from 1 to 5 seeds.  The seeds are small, flat, and will easily blow away, so work with these in a still area away from breeze or wind.  Place about 1/4 cup of Jiffy mix or vermiculite in a zip-lock bag or small disposable container that has a lid.  Add three tablespoons of water and allow the medium to soak it up for 1/2 hour.  Pour off any excess water.  Open the seed packet and "spread" open the ends of the cones over the damp medium.  Some of the seeds will easily fall free.  Others may stay inside the cone.  Droop cone and all after spreading the ends into the damp medium.  Place in the refrigerator, sealed, for 40-60 days at 35-45 degrees F.  At the end of this period, spread the mixture over a seed flat filled with Jiffy Mix or other seed starting medium.  Cover very lightly with seed starting mix.  Cover flat with glass or plastic.  Place in a 65-75 degree place, away from direct sun until germination takes place.  This may be erratic and spread out over a period of 14-30 days.  Once germination begins, ventilate the flat and keep moist, but not soggy.  Once seedlings are up and have one set of true leaves, remove cover and place in bright, indirect light.  Pot up when 1-2" tall into 3" pots or into a nursery bed.  Keep lightly shaded the first year.  Can be planted out into the landscape the second or third year.  Keep weed free and fertilize lightly until established.