The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen—shooting up by as much as 3 feet per year until maturity. Its natural pyramidal to conical form boasts dense, rich green foliage that darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter.
This is an exceptional landscape tree for use as a screen, hedge or single specimen. It is also resistant to wind once established and can withstand heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a natural windbreak.
The green giant arborvitae can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–7.
The green giant arborvitae grows to a height of 50–60′ and a spread of 12–20′ at maturity.
This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24″ per year.
Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.
The green giant arborvitae tolerates a wide range of soil textures. Poorly drained and wet sites should be avoided, and it is very salt-sensitive.
- Will grow up to 3′ per year until maturity.
- Darkens or bronzes slightly in the winter.
- Requires little or no pruning but can be sheared easily if necessary.
- Should be planted 5–6′ apart for a screen or hedge.
- Is a public domain tree, meaning anyone can propagate it from cuttings.
- Has no serious disease or pest problems.
- Features tiny, scale-like, glossy green leaves that are packed closely together in overlapping rows on divided branchlets, displaying in a flattened, fan-like spray.
- Yields 1/2″ long oblong cones that emerge green in the summer and turn brown in the winter.
- Releases a pleasing aroma when leaves are squeezed.
- Tolerates wind once established and withstands heavy ice or snow, making it a good choice for a fast-growing windbreak.
- Shows better resistance to browsing by deer than most arborvitae.
- Grows in a pyramidal shape.
Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds and foliage are a food source, although this cultivar has greater resistance to deer browsing than most arborvitae.
In 1967, D.T. Poulsen from Kvistgaard, Denmark, gave the U.S. National Arboretum a single plant—Thuja standishii x plicata. From this plant, the clone named ‘Green Giant’ was propagated. Green giant arborvitae rapidly became a popular plant and is a good alternative for hemlock in the Northeast and Leland cypress in the Southeast.
Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who assigned the Latin name to this species, picked up on one of the plants more sensory traits. The genus name, Thuja, is from a Greek word for perfume. Squeezing the evergreen leaves releases an aroma that is nothing less than nature’s perfume.
Information courtesy of ArborDay.org