Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Dwarf golden cypress outgrowing their space
December 28, 2008 - I planted two dwarf golden cypress on opposite sides of a dwarf alberta spruce in a small bed by the front door. After 4 years I have to severely prune back the dwarf cypress in spring as they will sp...
view the full question and answer

Selecting landscape trees for Denton Co., TX
August 11, 2006 - I live in Denton County and I'm trying to select a few trees to plant in my yard. I'd like them to be native or at least "antique" (hardy varieties which have adapted to the conditions without bec...
view the full question and answer

Planting annuals around young oak in Evanston IL
July 30, 2011 - is it OK to plant annuals (i.e. salvias, impatiens or dusty millers) around the base of a young oak tree (2-3 years old)?
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
view the full question and answer

Decorative small evergreen tree for Las Vegas NV
January 06, 2013 - I need a small decorative tree to be planted among a pine tree background; would prefer evergreen.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.