Emerald Green Arborvitae

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Emerald Green Arborvitae-Thuga occidentalis ‘Smaragd’

 

Hardy in zones 3 through 8.

All pyramidal Arborvitae are not created equal!  Some look similar but they grow and perform over time very differently.  There are two upright, pyramidal Arborvitae that I really like because the look great, and over time they perform exactly as you expect them to.  They are very different and should be used in different situations.  One is Techney arborvitae, also known as Mission Arborvitae  and I’ll post some info and photos on Techney in a few days.

Emerald Green Arbovitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae

The other is Emerald Green Arborvitae, also known as ‘Smaragd’ and that’s the one I am featuring on this page.

Emerald Green Arborvitae is an excellent plant, a great choice when looking for a narrow, upright evergreen that doesn’t get too tall.  This evergreen has an interesting color.  Instead of the really dark green color that many arborvitae have, this plant is a lighter green with what appears to be a bit of a gold tinge to the foliage.

Emerald Green Arbovitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Many upright arborvitae grow so fast that they grow so tall, that before long they are hooping over and growing away from the house.  During the winter months when the snow clings it will pull them almost to the ground.  If they are grown with multiple leaders as many are, they open up, spread apart and look absolutely terrible.

Make money selling Emerald Green Arborvitae Rooted cuttings.  See the bottom of this page.

I’ve never seen Emerald Green do that.  It just doesn’t get tall enough for that to happen.  Look at the Emerald Green Arborvitae in these photos.  As close as I can tell these plants are over 15 years old.  Yet they are only about 10′ tall.  That’s what makes Emerald Green unique to so many other upright arborvitae.

Emerald Green Arbovitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae

Emerald Green Arborvitae are narrow, and the closer to the top the narrower they get.  Planted in a single row you would have to plant them about 24″ on center to get a nice, full hedge, and even then because they are quite narrow at the top, it still is not likely to be a complete screen that can’t be seen through.

In these photos the Emerald Green Arborvitae are actually planted in a double row and staggered.  They appear to be planted about 30″ to 36″ apart, then the back row has the same spacing but is staggered to fill in the gaps.  This makes for a very tight screen that you cannot see through.

In this situation had the homeowner used another faster growing arborvitae this planting would be a mess by now.  The plants would be all opened up and the tops would be leaning over.  During the winter months the situation would be worse.

For about 20 years I spent a great deal of time re-landscaping homes.  During that time I re-landscaped over 500 homes.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we ripped out really tall arborvitae that were completely concealing the front of the house, leaning over and just plain looking bad.  In almost every case inside of the plants we found fence posts and wire holding the plants together and the stakes attempting to hold the plants upright.  That’s why I am very picky about which arborvitae that I will use in or recommend for a landscape.

These things sell like crazy and there are people in your home town that would love to buy these as small plants.

Here’s the problem.  A nice 36″ Emerald Green Arborvitae will easily sell for $20.00 or more.  A lot more depending on where you live.  Ten plants?  That’s $200 or more.  Some people can afford that, many cannot.  That’s why we need more people like you growing and selling small plants to people in your local area.  They would love you for that.

No selling involved.  When you grow and sell small plants from home, you don’t have to do any selling.  As soon as people find out that you are growing small plants they immediately want to see what you have for sale.  It’s very common for people to drive 50 miles or more to buy from our Backyard Growers!

Emerald Green Arborvitae is easy to propagate and easy to grow.  You can root cuttings and sell them as soon as they are rooted!  This is a great plant to grow at home and sell at a small size.  They really do sell like crazy, as do most other plants.

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Comments

  1. diann says

    Mike—I love all the articles you write, but am most interested in this one about evergreens. I am originally from up north so am not sure which ones will do well in the south. I live in N.C. and if you want hot, this is it. I planted 2 Cryptomerias and they both look ragged. Mostly brown and not good at all. They get the sun, but as you know it is mostlt hot and dry here. Please tell me which ones will do well here. Thanks!

    • Mike says

      Diann, in North Carolina you should have great plant choices there. Most all things that grow in the north will do well in North Carolina plus you have more selections as far as winter hardy. It has been pretty darn hot in Ohio this summer. Many days and evenings at 95 or warmer. That’s pretty hot for the north.

    • Althea Walker says

      Hello Mike I love getting your great info. it has really helped me out in the garden. I have a question I planted some beautiful red impatients (Annuals) this summer and wanted to know if I could overwinter them by digging them up and plant them in plastic nursery containers and putting them in a whole in the ground and cover with straw

      • Mike says

        Althea, that probably won’t work, I’m guessing they’d still freeze even covered with straw. Of course that depends where you live. Around here, zone 5 Ohio, they’d freeze for sure.

      • Sandra says

        Althea-
        I always bring my favorite Impatiens in the house for winter (coleus too). They do fine in pots, but even ones that have been grown in the garden can be brought in as cuttings in water. They root in water and will sit there waiting happily all winter for you to plant them back out in the spring. Make sure you bring them in before they start deteriorating, or it will be too late.
        I already have a favorite Sunpatiens happily blooming the the house, awaiting spring.

    • Eva Woods says

      Mike,
      Here it is Oct. 28th in Ohio (Chillicothe). Is it too late to put mums in the ground and have them come up next year? Or should I try to winter them over and wait until spring to plant them? How should I winter them over if that is the answer. Eva

    • Joy Rouse says

      Mike I have two Arborvitae’s at my front door, but they have got to large. They are about 10 foot tall and 4 foot wide. I trim them every year, but over time they have grown larger. My question is came they be cut back to about 6 foot by 2 or 2 1/2 foot. they are one on each of the steps in front of the porch. They block the view.

      • Mike says

        Joyce, cutting down a tall arborvitae down to 6 feet can probably be done without much of a problem. They won’t look good for quite some time, but they should recover. But reduce the diameter by 50% won’t be so easy because all of the vibrant growth is outside of that circle. So that really leaves you two options. Try and prune them first. If they don’t recover, pull them out. But don’t prune them unless you are willing to lose them.

    • Midge Hernandez says

      Hi Mike! I am fearful of the invasion of Japanese Longhorn Beetles. They are in a large city an hour from us. I love arbovitae & want to protect my trees. How do I prepare for this? Thank you.

  2. terri says

    would be interested in starting some of these they are beautiful are these the ones witht the soft not sticking branches??

  3. Jeannine says

    Mike,
    why don’t you mention in what zones they grow?
    I live in S.Florida, would love to grow some and be a part of your network?
    Warm regards, Jeannine

  4. Sherrill Rogge says

    I have planted 8 of these in the spring. 4 of them have died. I watered them very well due to the heat this year. They are beautiful and want to replace them. I live in zone 4. What can I do this time?

    • Mike says

      Sherrill, newly installed plants almost always die because they did not get enough water, were actually over watered to the point that the roots are sitting in soggy soil, and they might have been planted too deep. The very top of the root ball should be one inch above the existing grade. In clay soil they should be planted higher and soil mounded up over the root ball then mulch.

      Plants seldom die because there is something wrong with the plant. It’s almost always how they were planted or cared for. I’ve lost lots of plants over the years. Always my fault.

      • JR says

        I planted 2 at the same time, very near each other. But one dried out and was closer to the house than the other. Mike told be the same thing so after 2 tries I paid attention and watered uniformly for a few months and not as deep as the first 2. Guess what, he’s right. Thriving like the other now :)

  5. kathie VanDevere says

    Mike do you know of an evergreen hedge that could be used fairly close to the road and not die from winter salt spray??

    • Sue says

      Your answer is Mugho Pine.
      Ours were on a busy street, taking all the vehcle emissions, and snow clearing piles on top of them full of salt, and they thrived.

  6. Rene says

    Hi Mike!

    These trees are very beautiful. I am looking to use evergreens to border my home and wanted to know which type grows quickly and is a good choice in Zone 5b-6? It would need to have some drought tolerance, as well.

    Thanks!

    • Mike says

      Rene, when you ask for a fast growing plant you are really making a trade off. In my experience the faster the growing the plant the lower the quality, especially long term. These are medium growers, and good over the long term. Perfect in your zone.

    • Mech says

      Hi, i grow the arborvortae blue cones here in central texas, and as you know we have had 102f temps from june-end of august+. I use a drip irrigation line with a cheap orbit water timer to take care of them. I planted them feb. of 2013 and they are thriving! I planted them at the right depth in the semi clay/sand soil.

  7. Linda says

    I planted one of these a few months ago and with all the drought we’ve had in Oklahoma it has all but turned brown. Is there any hope of it coming out of this? Not sure if I’ve watered it enough, too much? Thanks.

  8. says

    I had made an arrangement using Arborvitae and other pine in a container with Oasis to hold water and to my surprise about a month later I discovered that the arborvitae had began to root (in the oasis). I let it go for a while and then broke away most of the oasis and potted the cuttings. Now they are at least 7 ft. tall and this spring have been covered with scores of small cones. I estimate these are now 7 yrs old from time of cuttings to tree-sized.It was a treat to watch them become beautiful trees.

  9. Mike says

    These are great plants, but in Memphis we have a bag worm problem and occasionally twig blight. A good insecticide cures worm problem and a broad spectrum fungicide will handle the blight.

    • Norm says

      Yes, deer love them! If you have ever seen a row of arborvitae that have an “hour glass” shape from one side, you can rest assured the deer are nibbling away at them.

  10. Lynne says

    Gorgeous plant but too tall for my garden.
    I’m looking to replace my 20-year-old Japanese holly bushes with something EVERGREEN that doesn’t require high-maintenance pruning twice a year. The zone 7 area gets intense morning sun until noon, is flat with clay soil and is in front of my long concrete porch. I would prefer something that I can easily keep to a height of 3 1/2 feet or less. What are my options?

  11. Matt Horns says

    When these tree die or get dried out, they explode in flames if they are exposed to fire. I suggest not putting them near any flammable structures.

    • ff-emt says

      yup. VERY flammable – I know, from professional experience. Also a funny – as a child, my mum had a row of these in a planter across the front of our house in So. Cali. We had huge windows along the entire front – and the (um, old) lady across the street asked Mum to cut them down – they were so dense, she couldn’t see inside…. :-D

    • Hank Hajduk says

      Matt Horns,

      Though I’ve been planting conifers on a vacant parcel of land in Northern Michigan, ( except for arborvitae, aka Northern White cedar, deer eat them too quickly ), since 1990s, I never thought about your comment.

      Yes, I have seen dead Cedar in other places, and never thought of the consequences regarding fire. Thanks for the heads up.

      I imagine it would also apply to other conifers, when dead, because of their high “pitch” ,( sap ) content.

      Thanks again, Hank
      h.hajduk@comcast.net

      • Sandy Welte says

        Yes, any pines, or conifers if dead is a fire hazard! Conifers are beautiful. Mike I can’t get video and audios right now, so I hope I can get some starters of my conifers! I will try. The deer love them here in southwest Wi, if there is a lot of snow and they can’t find food, you better put fencing around conifers!

    • Mike says

      Matt, I’ve never met a dead evergreen that would not burn easily. But they have to be dead and I would hope that’s not the case.

  12. Dick Carmen says

    Is the Emerald Gree Arborvitae?
    …Suseptable to animal urine;
    …Suseptable to deer damage;
    …Suseptable to strong westerly winds;
    …A fast or slow growing tree.

    • Mike says

      Dick, nothing that I know of is going to be happy with animal urine. Deer will eat them during the winter. Growing rate I’d consider medium. Keep in mind, fast growing means low quality plant in my book, and I’ve yet to see a fast growing plant that was high quality. For an upright evergreen they should tolerate wind pretty well since they are slim enough to not catch a lot of wind.

  13. Barbara Thompson says

    Mike, You continue to thrill this old 73 (almost) WV lady with your beautiful evergreens. I love the Arborvitaes and the Hemlocks. Don’t know which I love the most. Would love to have my fairly large yard planted with nothing but these beauties. You are the best. Keep growing.

  14. jean foster says

    what are the dimensions of these tree at maturity? are they disease resistant? are they heat tolerant?

    • Mike says

      Jean, they are good up to zone 8, and down to zone 3. As disease resistant as anything I’ve seen. 10 to 12 tall seems to be where they top out.

  15. Lorna Lang says

    My mother gre aborvitae and I learned to love them. Hers though grew to be very tall and she created this incredibla privacy wall of them all around her house and garden. They always looked beautiful.
    i have a question for you…we have built a burm along the roadside of the property about 8ft tall and we are looking for plats that would be suitable to grow on either side and along the top of it. Such plarigs as fruit bearinf things as blackberries and florals such as sunflowers and blacj=keyed susans etc…really we have nit much idea
    what would be ost practical and wise…could you assist us with some good advice.Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Lorna

  16. George Harris says

    Mike, will they thrive in central Florida? I could sure use a bunch of ‘em as a noise barrier behind my property to stifle traffic din. [Harley's are in vogue here in Clermont]! Can I get them locally from, say, Home Depot or Lowe’s?

  17. june says

    Hmmmm…looks like Deer Candy to me…don’t they like that? Not a good thing to grow in my area if it is.
    But I’m not sure.

    I was surprised, though, that you say they root easily.
    I didn’t think evergreens were good that way.
    Thanks for the info!

    • Mike says

      June, deer will eat them during the winter months when extremely hungry. But deer will eat most anything when all of their favorite plants are snow covered.

  18. Tonya Hutchinson says

    Mike, you have really struck a soft spot in my heart showing these because I absolutely love evergreens and pine cones!! The place before the last place we lived at, there were these huge pine trees in the back yard that bore large as well as small cones! I loved them! I made wreaths, and bagged & saved the cones. I also used the pine straw as mulch! Those cones have more uses than what people imagine. You can make ornaments out them as well as jewelry, flowers,potpourri,etc. I want a couple of these trees!!

  19. Jeff K. says

    Mike- Not very “Mike-like”… you failed to post a hardiness zone for these plants? Keep up the great info please! Also, only (2) Back-Yard Growers in Illinois…neither is convienient/close by… :[

  20. Jim says

    Deer love these and can make them look like ice cream cones. Green Giant & Spring Grove Arborvatie are a variety with a western cedar cross in it. It smells like cedar when you brush up against them. The deer won’t touch them plus they handle snow & wind without spliting.They have a single terminal trunk.

  21. Sharon says

    I already have 6 I’ve grown from 2′ft. Now they are 20 ft tall. They have done well but I would like to know how much water to give them & BAG WORMS!!! How do you get rid of them!?? They are devistating/killing the trees one by one!! HELP!!!

    • Mike says

      Sharon, if yours are 20′ tall they should only need water when really dry. But then it’s imporant to water them really good at least once a week. You’d sure hate to lose them. The bag worms you’ll have to use an insecticide that is rated for bag worms.

  22. Magigal says

    Mike….
    The first e-mails I read after coming out of a month-long coma from meningitis caused by by bacteria growth in a very big 3rd. degree burn on my thigh , was to read ALL of your posts and I thank you sincerly, Mike, for all of the very interesting summaries you gave about different plants/shrubs/trees and the photos add a LOT of visual information .
    Thankyou for being so faithful to your readers.
    Magigal

  23. Kim says

    I have 5 of these for a hedge but the dogs sneak a leak on the end one. What do you suggest that I can plant in front of them?

    • Martha Vinson says

      If you want the dogs to stop—go and buy bulk black pepper and sprinkle the foliage as far as they can sniff—–it amounts to aversive training as they always sniff before “baptizing” the plant—it will make them sneeze and decide those are very unfriendly places to mark. You will have to be conscientious about keeping the pepper on for awhile especially if they have been using that spot for sometime …it doesn’t take a whole lot of pepper at one time, it does work , and it doesn’t hurt the dogs or anything else .Good luck.

  24. karla says

    I’m in zone south Mississippi and have a beautiful tree that is shaped just like the emerald green arborvitae, but it has more needle like,yet soft “greenery.” I found it on our property when it was about 8″ tall. It is now about 12′ tall and I decorate it with lights at Christmas. I think it is a cedar of some type. I will grow these if I can, as I love the shape and size for a privacy and noise barrier.

  25. Jack says

    Mike,
    Enjoy your wisdom…
    Living in N.E. Ohio, when is best time to prune white pine trees?
    I have pruned half of the new growth early June and it seems to shock the tree to much and on occasion has killed some 10+yr old trees.
    Jack

  26. Gail Gambrell says

    I know that summer flowers are soon to end but
    I have a issue with my petunia flower garden. I noticed that the flowers are being eaten by green worms; their kind of fat looking.
    What remedy is there that is natural and inexpensive. My petunia flower garden is lovely…..Help! Thank you….Gail

    • Judy says

      Here they are the cabbage worms that get to the petunias. Watch for the small white butterflies that lay the eggs. Watch closely for droppings and you will find the worm on the flower above, they seem to get to the heart of the flower for me. I found dusting lightly with ashes works. My grandmother did that with her cabbages to keep the worms away.

  27. Rosemary Peacock says

    Mike, I so enjoy your posts and your short videos. I believe I have one of these arbovitaes at the corner of my house. It has gown into the corner of my roof. How can I prune this or what do I do with it because it is ruining the top of it. I live in metro Atlanta, the tree gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Thanks Rosemary

    • Mike says

      Rosemary, it’s obviously too close to the house. Not trimming Emerald Green Arborvitae is always best, but if you have to, cut the top down and shape the tree pyramidal.

  28. Berniece says

    White Pines:
    How fast do they grow?
    How far apart planted to make hedge?
    Width/Height at full grown?
    Deer/disease resistant?
    Zone 8

    • Mike says

      Berniece,
      White pine can get quite tall, but I’d do a google search for exact heights. For an evergreen they grow pretty fast. For a hedge at least 10′ apart. Not sure about zone 8 or deer. I’m going to research this plant more.

  29. Lisa Burleson says

    I do have a question for you. I planted 4 arbor trees this spring and were doing great but 2 of them have been looking brown and dried out. I have been watering them everyday like I do all my plants in the yard. but my poor tree bushes are looking so dry. Do you think they will pull out of it and green up again or are they already done for??? in otherwords dying? trying to figure out how I can save them? any info would be great !

  30. Lois says

    Hi Mike..Love your site, always use it to help me determine what I am doing right or wrong…I have lots of emerald green arborvitae we have a new home and we are using them to define our borders here…..The ones in the back by the pool are doing well, but I have 10 on the side of the house all in a row and the two outside ones are doing great, the inside ones are all turning color on me…kind of yellowish orange now, can I save them, and what is going on?????……..They were gorgeous 2 weeks ago……HElp..Lois

    • Mike says

      James, there are all kinds of deer repelents on the market and many homemade recipes. This something that I want to address in my newsletter soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  31. Kevin says

    Mike,

    Thanks for the reply about a good choice for a thin screen for my 1200′ driveway. I will be looking to your system soon as I will need to start as small plants since I will need hundreds of them.
    Thanks again for your time,
    Kevin

  32. josh says

    mike,

    i live in georgia near atl and i was wondering if its too hot for those plants. if it isnt than where do i get them because i already have the backyard growing system.

    josh

  33. BJ says

    It’s always fun to watch your videos on plant progagation. Thanks. Also, looks like you have lost some weight, and for that you should be commended. GOOD for you! More energy should be in store for you. Been there, done that!!

    • Mike says

      Bj, thank you. I have lost weight, about 64 pounds and I feel great! Over years a lot of my subscriber friends have written to me about my weight and my health and I finally did something about it. Now . . . to just keep the weight off.

  34. Bill Moulton says

    Mike when you pot up these rooted cuttings where do you get your soil from? Bailed mix? Do you mix you own? or do you incorporaye field soil? This could be your most exspensive ingrediant.

    • Mike says

      Bill, definitely not field soil. Most growers use a potting soil mix that actually contains no soil. Cost? I just did the math a few days ago and I can pot up a small plant that will easily sell for $4.97 and my total cost for the cutting, the plastic container and the soil comes to about 36 cents. That’s for a container which is slightly smaller than a #1 nursery container. Profit margin is really quite high. Potting soil receipe here: http://freeplants.com/ingredients-for-potting-soil.htm

  35. David Green says

    another great how to root cuttings! I got my box made like yours, will let you know how well I do. again thanks David from the south

  36. Doug Jeffries says

    Mike,
    I love your videos. I tried doing this and found out from your video that I was doing it wrong. Now that I have watched your video, I will try it again and I am sure that I will be successful this time.

  37. Alma says

    When is the best time to plant American arborvitae? They are 12″ tall and I want to be sure I order them at the right time.
    Zone 5.

    • Mike says

      Alma, I like planting in the fall and early winter, but then again I plant year round. You can’t dig year round, but you can plant year round.

  38. Jim Fisher says

    Great article Mike, I’ve been wondering about doing some of this with evergreens in Missouri, without spending a lot of money. I’m inspired!

  39. Pat says

    Where can I find a map of the different growing zones I live on Maui at an elevation of 3,000 feet in KULA. We still get hot sun all day long and are experiencing drought conditions on most of the islands. Aloha

  40. Joe says

    Mike

    Thanks for the info – great tips. I have 2 questions. Will this method of rooting be similar for all evergreens? and I’ve tried rooting evergreens before and they all fail but I have always used soil. I’ll try sand instead – do I need special sand or would gritty builders sand work ok?

    From Scotland

    • Mike says

      Joe, the gritty builders mix should fine. Most evergreens can be rooted this way. Conifers like spruce, pine and fir are usually grown from seed and don’t do well from cuttings. The blue, blue spruce are grafted onto a blue spruce seedling.

  41. Bob Long says

    Mike,
    I have tried doing arbs from cuttings, but not quite ripping them apart so radically because I have emerald greens that i don’t want to totally destroy to grow a cutting. I guess the large wound or heal is the key. but when I have tried it i put them in a container like you describe in your book but have had no success. How long will it take to devolp roots? am I not being patient enough. some people tell me i need bottom heat to do evergreens. can I take them now and put them in my container and have some roots by spring?Help! no success with evergreens.

    • Mike says

      Bob, doing them this time of year is much slower. Even if they aren’t rooted by spring just leave them be and they’ll root when the weather warms. I’ve had great success with Emerald Green Arborvitae and Rhinegold Arborviate doing them in early September when the air is still warm. When I’ve done them that early I’ve had roots before Thanksgiving. http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm

  42. Jim says

    Mike, most of these sold locally here have multiple leaders and as they age tend to look like three or four trees grouped tightly tohether. Also as a result of the multi leaders they do splay open under heavy snow. I would suggest those growing these look for single leadet plants. If you kepp them with a single leader they are great plants.
    Mike one question does the same technique work for boulevard false cypress. Thanks for the great info.

    • Mike says

      Jim, I would think so, this same technique can be used for all arborvitae or Juniper, if tearing them part isn’t the best option just take tip cuttings about 4″ long.

  43. myrna says

    I am wonding ig I can use these. I need something that will not grow under my driveway and split the cement, even if I plant 3 feet or so from the edge of the drive. It cannot be very big around, as it will encrouch on the neighbors land, and I’d like it to grow 10 -20″ tall at maturity.

    • Mike says

      Myrna, Emerald Green Arborvitae is probably a good option for you. The roots are fairly soft, not that aggressive. I’d keep them at least 36″ to 48″ from the concrete just to be safe.

  44. nora says

    hello mike

    I live in new zealand and would like to make cuttings of thuja occidentalis. Its spring here in new zealand does it also work in spring to do those kind of cuttings?
    thanks a lot for answering my question!

    • Mike says

      Nora, Typically early spring is not a good time to propagate plants because they are busy making new growth. However if you wait 6 to 8 weeks after the plants start leafing out in the spring, the new growth slows down and hardens off and you can start doing the cuttings then. Use a box just like I used in this video, make sure the plastic is painted white and place the box in as much shade as possible. During the summer keep the box closed most of the time. Water as needed, usually daily. More here:
      http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm

  45. Carol says

    Hi Mike
    We have these aborvite in two areas on our deer infested property. They eat them down to the trunks. My husband built “contraptions” with deer netting around them and it works. They are about six feet tall and I painted the poles black and the netting is black so it will not be so noticeable.

  46. Carl Compton says

    I enjoyed your video. How would I propigate a Kiefer pear tree? This is a very old variety often found on old farmsteads in Missouri but not in nurseries.I like it for its crunch & resistance to disease & bugs.

  47. dennis says

    Hi Mike:

    First time writer, longtime reader.

    Is this technique good to use for doing variegated dogwoods or do you recommend another way to do them?

    Dennis

    • Mike says

      Dennis, actually the variegated red twig and other dogwood shurbs root easily this way. You can do them in the fall or even in the summer months. They root quite easily.

  48. Rick says

    I was reading in a book on bonsai that evergreens like pines make growth ‘candles’ in the spring. So to prune them to keep them smaller, you should just pinch off about two thirds of the fresh growth of each ‘candle’, just as the needles start to grow out. (for bonsai, you also have to prune the roots) Not a great idea to hack away at evergreens real hard with saws and lopping shears… unless you really want to permanently alter their shape, like to make bonsai look old. To keep a natural shape, just pinch pines back -uniformly- in the spring. Or you can uniformly cut back the growing tips on Arborvitae, the way Mike does in the video. If a big evergreen tree is so far gone that saws and such are tempting, it might be better to remove it (and make babies:)) and replant. Shape your trees as they grow and they’ll stay beautiful, and in the size range you want, a lot longer. Now, if only we could train the deer to do it that way! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Mike.

  49. Robert Bellinger says

    Hi Mike,
    You mentioned in the article that “A nice 36″ Emerald Green Arborvitae will easily sell for $20.00 or more.” How long would it take for a cutting to develope into a 36″ plant?
    Thanks
    Bob B

  50. Kelly says

    Hi Mike,
    I live in Ohio and was wondering how long would I have before the system you used would be unsuccessful. Would the closer I plant these in the box help?
    Thanks for all your help! Your articles are AWESOME!!!

  51. Eva Woods says

    Mike,
    I live in south central Ohio and have 4 beautiful mums I would like to keep for next year. Is it too late to plant outside?..oct. 28th. If so, how could I winter them over to plant in the spring?
    Thanks, Eva

  52. Marian says

    Mike,

    I recently took a trip to Sicily. At the market there were tiny strawberries for sale, which were great.

    The climate there was pretty similar to one where I live here in North Central Florida. I wondered where I could get these plants.Please advise, Thanks, Marian

    • Mike says

      Marian,

      You’d really have to know the variety of the berry that you are looking for, then you could search for someone who has plants available.

  53. Norm says

    Growing question: After you have set your cuttings in your box, how long does it take before:

    1. They root
    2. They get big enough to transplant to containers
    3. Once transplanted to containers, how do you keep growth even? If Arborvitae are planted close together/touching, areas shaded or touching seem to die back–I don’t want to end up with a bunch of these with one or two sides looking bad
    4. They become 1 gallon size plants good for a quick sale

  54. Jerry says

    I wish I would have known this 10 years ago ! Home we purchased had two (planted very close to the house) Were about 12′ tall..but only had branches the top 2′ or so..I just took them down, and used the 6″ trunks as a border along a flower bed ! Had I known about ‘Starting Cuttings’ like this.. I could have put those 2′ of top branches to good use ! Now I know ! Thanks for all the Great Info Mike !

  55. Stephanie Beavers says

    Hi Mike,
    I love how you take things apart and explain them!

    I have just a few questions:

    1. Watering: Is this done daily, weekly. My concern would be in the winter months for freezing?
    2. You mentioned in a previous post to use “Gritty Builders Mix”? I’m assuming this is the sand? Where can I find this and also where can I find the rooting compound?
    3. How long for them to root and how big should be they be to transplant.
    4. How big should they be before you can start selling them?

    One of these days I will be purcashing your book. Thank you for all you do!:)

  56. CHAN says

    Mike,
    I see Arborvitae growing in Trinidad and Tobago. Don’t know what variety it is but they are so beautiful. It looks great when planted in shaded areas of the garden.

  57. EDDIE says

    Mike, I made a prppagation box. Has about 1200 plants in 4″ of sand with a bottom. The sand will freeze this winter. Will it kill my plants I just planted in October?May put a light bulb inside on cold nights here in Ky.How do you root Colorado blue spruce?I am using the same method as with Emeral Green Avborvitae. Can you help me?

    • Mike says

      Eddie, as long as your cuttings are in the propagation box don’t worry about them freezing. Freezing won’t hurt them as long as the sand is moist and not dry. Don’t put a lightbulb in the box. You want the plants dormant, not actively growing. Blue Spruce are more challenging. Most are grown from seed, a very slow process, then the really blue ones are grafted onto seedlings.

  58. CONNIE says

    Will the same stripping method work well on Junipers and Cypress? They will be my special plants for Central CA. Thanks

  59. Diana says

    Love this spiff on the evergreens , I am one of those people who moved into a home w/a mess of Cypress & Junipers grown in the wrong places. I had to take out two Junipers taller than my house, making my new neighbors annoyed w/ me.But if they had been done right it never would have come to that. Thank you for teaching proper choice ^_^

  60. Bill Maitland says

    Hello Mike, Just got through cleaning up here in New Jersey after “SANDY” blew through. Yes we survived. I just watched your article on propagating Arborvitea, very interesting. Really like the box you made. I have been on your email list for a long time and have a lot of them saved. You are really a wonderful person to share your knowledge the way you do. I am planning to semi-retire soon and plan on trying out some of your methods. Haven’t had much time the last ten years, but decided I had to make time to finally thank you for sharing with me and everyone else. Thank you Mike and keep up the great work. Bill

    • Mike says

      Bill, you’re welcome and wishing you the best of luck. Keep in mind, if you plan to grow for profit I urge you to get my Backyard Growing System because what I share here on the websites is only part of what you need to know. I don’t want you to make a lot of mistakes that can cost you time and effort. -Mike McGroarty http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm

  61. Dai Ly says

    Thanks for the video on Emerald Green Arborvitae cutting and rooting. If rooting hormone is not used, I assume that it would take a longer time for rooting to happen, is that a fair assessment?

    • Mike says

      Dai Ly, you’re right, not using a root compound will slow down the rooting process and possibly reduce your overall results. It could reduce your percentage of success. But with it or without it, plants know what to do when you remove cuttings from the parent plant. They want to make new roots. That’s all they know how to do. so you can consider rooting compound optional, depend on what you are trying to root. I used it simply because it will increase my overall success rate of rooting cuttings.

  62. Paul Schuster says

    This is a video I’ve been waiting for. Thanks Mike! I too am interested in your answer to Connie’s question about Junipers and Cypress. I assume the process would work the same for them, but I failed in the past to get Juniper cuttings to root.

    • Mike says

      Paul, some Junipers can be really slow to root. Just stick them like I did the arborvitae, stick a lot of them, a lot more than you need, leave them and keep them watered. In 12 months pull the ones that have rooted.

  63. Elise Morris says

    Mike, can you propagate Boulevard Cypress this way? Is it possible to root arborvitae in well-drained soil in a protected site, or does it have to be sand?

  64. doug says

    my nigra arborvitaes have been through the Sandy flood about 3′ of salt water and they are looking very bad and dying. what can I do to save them??

    • Mike says

      Doug,
      They are probably dying from oxygen deprivation to the roots and soil compaction, really the same thing. Don’t fertilize them, it will kill them. My thoughts are to drill some holes around the root zone so the soil can breath. Beyond that? All you can do is wait. If there is residual salt you could try and rinse it away, but the last thing they need right now is more water around the roots.

  65. Mary Ann Majersi says

    Hi, I live in Buffalo NY. I have 3 arborvitae, one short needle evergreen tree & large evergreen bush. The tallest arborvitae & evergreen tree are about 20 years old & about 25 feet tall (they have been pruned at the top.) These line the back of my yard, all in one area. I went to visit my daughter in NC for December & January. When I came home, the tallest arborvitae & evergreen tree turned completely orange/copper color. Everything else was green. I know the neighbors cats uses this area for their litter box. :( Could this cause the orange/copper color, or was something poured on them (by back neighbor?) We have had alot of heavy rain in the last 4 days and this didn’t make a difference, at all, in the color. I would appreciate your help with this matter. Thank you

    • Mike says

      Mary Ann,

      It’s unlikely that cat waste did that kind of damage to a very mature tree. I’m guessing that tree is completely dead. Why it died is anybody’s guess. But when evergreens show that kind of damage it’s usually fatal.

  66. Tracy says

    Great propagation box, Mike!
    My question is about where to build this box. I am in DC, and I have a great full sun location and a great shade location.
    Where should I build?
    Thanks, Tracy