En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - January 31, 2011

From: Eastlake, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.

ANSWER:

I have found that many answers to gardening questions begin with "well, it depends" and this is one of them.

According to our Native Plant Database Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae) grows "slowly" but that is a relative term. It has a very broad native range as you can see on the map in the USDA Database entry, stretching from Northern Canada to South Carolina, so that may be why you find inconsistencies in the references.

As you can imagine, how fast it grows depends on where it is planted.  The longer the growing season, the more growth it can achieve in a season, resulting in a seemingly "faster" growth rate.  Plant growth rates are also dependant on the abundance of water, nutrients and light.  So an arborvitae planted in the north in an ideal  location will actually grow faster than one eking out an existence on the north side of a dry hillside much further south.

You must be considering planting one or you wouldn't have asked the question.  You may find the information you need by visiting a local nursery or contacting your local agricultural extension service, describing to them where it will be planted and what "job" it has to do. They will be able to tell you if it will grow fast enough to satisfy you.  If not, they may be able to recommend a substitute.


Thuja occidentalis

 

More Trees Questions

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
April 20, 2012 - I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?
view the full question and answer

Live oaks dropping brown leaves
August 02, 2014 - We have three live oaks and one of them has been dropping quite a few brown leaves over the past two weeks. I looked at pictures of trees with oak wilt and ours do not look like the pictures. I als...
view the full question and answer

Native substitute for traditional Christmas tree
December 01, 2007 - Could you give some recommendations for a substitute of the traditional Christmas tree used during the holiday season? The low light/humidity conditions in the home is a challenge under any circumsta...
view the full question and answer

Small to medium drought-tolerant trees for Southern California
June 01, 2012 - I am looking for drought tolerant trees to line one side of our 70 foot driveway. We live in Southern California. Currently, we have queen palms, but I would like something more native or drought to...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center