En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Fast-growing "climbing" tree.
February 12, 2009 - I live in Northern Virginia. My children would love for me to plant a "climbing" tree - short trunk, nice spread of limbs. Can you recommend a tree that could grow to meet this requirement in abou...
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014 - I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
view the full question and answer

Cold hardiness of native Wild Olive in Austin
October 11, 2008 - I am considering purchasing a Mexican/Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) at the upcoming Wildflower Center plant sale to put in my yard in east Austin. I know this tree naturally occurring range extends ...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA
July 30, 2013 - Help. I need fast growing tree for backyard privacy. Where in Berkeley is there a tree nursery to Buy Pittosporum trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center