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

Controlling a shrub/tree with lots of thorns and flowers similar to beebrush, but lots of thorns
July 08, 2014 - I live in Horseshoe Bay, Llano County with 1.5 acres of natural habitat. There is a plant that I have always called Cat's Claw but in researching Cat's Claw, I may have misidentified it. It has a fl...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Is it wise to cut suckers from live oak branches in April in Austin
April 07, 2010 - My live oak branches are filling with suckers and I would like to cut them now, April. Is that wise?
view the full question and answer

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Tree roots breaking surface in Allen, TX
March 09, 2009 - I live in Northern Texas, near Dallas. My questions concerns a tree in my front yard that now has roots that break the surface of the soil and grass. I would like to cover the roots. Should I cover...
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