Planting Arborvitae: The Ultimate Guide to Thriving Plants

Hey there, fellow green-thumbed enthusiasts! Are you on the hunt for a plant that’s both versatile and hardy? Look no further than arborvitae! These pyramid-shaped plants are iconic and make a bold statement in any landscape. Not only are they super resilient, but they also serve multiple purposes like decoration, living fences, and windbreaks.

But here’s the thing: planting arborvitae correctly is crucial to ensure their growth and longevity. One wrong move and your beloved plant could wither away before your eyes. So, are you ready to become an arborvitae expert?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of arborvitae and learn how to help your plant thrive. Let’s get started!

How Much to Plant Arborvitae

How Much to Plant Arborvitae

When it comes to planting arborvitae, various factors can affect the overall cost. These factors include the size, variety, and location of the tree. As there are many types of arborvitae, such as Eastern, Techny, American, Globe, Emerald Green, White, Korean, Oriental, Giant, Western, and Green Giant, the price range varies accordingly.

On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $200 per tree, depending on the variety and size. However, keep in mind that additional expenses may arise, such as delivery fees, planting supplies, and professional landscaping services if you choose to hire someone to plant them for you. Always weigh your options and budget carefully before committing to planting arborvitae.

Where to Plant Arborvitae

Choosing the right location for your arborvitae is essential to ensure its proper growth. These plants thrive in well-drained areas with partial shade. When selecting the perfect spot, consider the purpose of your arborvitae:

  1. Decoration: If you’re using arborvitae to enhance your landscape’s aesthetics, find a location where they can stand out and be easily appreciated. A mix of sun and shade is ideal to maintain their vibrant green color.
  2. Privacy: As living fences, arborvitae can provide a natural barrier between properties. Plant them in a row along property lines or around the perimeter of your yard.
  3. Windbreak: To serve as a windbreak, plant arborvitae in a line or staggered rows where they can effectively block strong winds.

When to Plant Arborvitae

Timing is crucial when planting arborvitae. The ideal time to plant is during the cooler months of spring and fall. This allows the trees to establish their root systems before the hot summer months or harsh winter conditions. Avoid planting during periods of extreme heat or cold, as this can stress the plant and hinder its growth.

How to Plant Arborvitae

To ensure your arborvitae thrives, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose the right variety: Select an arborvitae variety that suits your needs and the local climate. Consult a local nursery or landscape expert for guidance if needed.
  2. Prepare the planting site: Clear the area of weeds, rocks, and debris. Dig a hole that is twice as wide and just as deep as the tree’s root ball.
  3. Inspect the roots: Gently remove the arborvitae from its container and check for any damaged or circling roots. Trim damaged roots and untangle any that are circling to prevent future issues.
  4. Place the tree: Position the arborvitae in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Space trees according to their mature size, typically 3-5 feet apart for a hedge or 10-15 feet apart for individual trees.
  5. Backfill and water: Fill the hole halfway with soil, then water thoroughly to remove air pockets. Once the water has drained, fill the rest of the hole with soil and water again.
  6. Mulch: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk. Mulch helps retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.
  7. Stake if necessary: In windy locations or for taller trees, it may be necessary to stake the arborvitae for the first year to provide extra support.

Arborvitae Planting and Watering Tips

To keep your arborvitae healthy and thriving, follow these tips:

  1. Water consistently: Arborvitae need consistent moisture, especially during their first few years. Water deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil remains moist but not soggy. Adjust the frequency depending on weather conditions, such as rainfall or drought.
  2. Fertilize: Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring and late fall to promote healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive growth and weaker branches.
  3. Monitor for pests and diseases: Regularly check your arborvitae for signs of pests, such as bagworms or spider mites, and diseases like blight or root rot. If detected, promptly treat the issue using the appropriate methods.

How to Transplant Arborvitae

There may come a time when you need to transplant your arborvitae, such as when it’s outgrown its current location or when redesigning your landscape. To transplant arborvitae, follow these steps:

  1. Plan ahead: Transplanting is best done during the cooler months of spring and fall. This minimizes stress on the tree and allows it to establish roots before extreme weather conditions.
  2. Prepare the new location: Select a suitable spot for your arborvitae, considering its growth requirements and purpose. Dig a hole that’s twice as wide and as deep as the root ball.
  3. Prune the roots: About 6-8 weeks before transplanting, prune the tree’s roots by cutting a circle around the base, about 12-18 inches from the trunk. This encourages the growth of new, smaller roots that are easier to transplant.
  4. Carefully dig up the tree: When it’s time to transplant, use a sharp spade to dig up the tree, making sure to keep the root ball intact. Gently lift the tree from the ground, avoiding any damage to the roots.
  5. Place and backfill: Position the arborvitae in the new hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Fill the hole halfway with soil and water thoroughly. Once the water has drained, fill the rest of the hole with soil and water again.
  6. Provide aftercare: Water the transplanted tree regularly, especially during the first year, and monitor for any signs of stress, pests, or diseases. It may take a few years for the tree to fully recover and resume normal growth.


How fast do arborvitae grow?

On average, arborvitae can grow up to three feet per year, depending on the variety and growing conditions.

What is the difference between American and globe arborvitae?

American arborvitae are wider and cone-shaped, while globe arborvitae are more rounded and shrub-like.

Can arborvitae grow in full sun or full shade?

Arborvitae prefer a mix of sun and shade, but they can tolerate full sun or full shade if necessary. However, growth may be slower, and the foliage may be less vibrant in full shade.

How often should I trim my arborvitae?

Trimming is not required for arborvitae, but if you prefer a tidier look or want to maintain a specific size, you can trim them once a year, ideally in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Regular trimming is necessary if you’re growing arborvitae as a hedge.

What are the most popular arborvitae varieties?

Some popular arborvitae varieties include the Eastern, Techny, American, Globe, Emerald Green, White, Korean, Oriental, Giant, Western, and Green Giant. Each variety has unique characteristics and growth habits, making them suitable for different purposes and landscapes.


Planting and caring for arborvitae may seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and approach, you’ll be well on your way to growing these beautiful, versatile plants.

By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about where, when, and how to plant your arborvitae, ensuring they thrive for years to come.

So, get out there, plant your arborvitae, and watch them grow into the stunning landscape feature you’ve always envisioned!

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