Techny Arborvitae

Last updated : 12 May 2015

Techny Arborvitae, also known as Mission Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’

Techny Arborvitae

Techny Arborvitae

This by far my favorite Arborvitae!  It has a beautiful dark green color, it grows very dense, it’s a medium fast grower.  Some say it’s a slow grower and compared to a lot of other Arborvitae it is slower growing.  However, you will hear me say this a lot.  The faster growing the plant, the lower the quality of the plant.  So when you opt for a fast growing plant you trade off quality which means in ten or fifteen years you might be sorry that you didn’t opt for the better plant in the beginning.

Looking for a great plant to grow and sell at home?  Techny Arborvitae is a hot seller!  More about that at the bottom of this article.

21 Plants That Are Easy to Grow and Sell Like Crazy
Techny Arborvitae

Techny Arborvitae

Techny Arborvitae makes an excellent evergreen hedge.  Unlike many Arborvitae, Techny can grow as wide as four to six feet wide.  So planted about 48″ apart they make a nice dense evergreen hedge that will provide privacy and make a nice windbreak.  You can plant them as far apart as six or ten feet and still get a great hedge, just not as dense for the first few years.

They like just about any soil condition but in sandy soil you should water them during times of drought just to protect your investment in these beautiful plants.  They don’t really have disease problems and the only serious insect problem is bag worms, and I’m going to do an article about how to best control bag worms.

They grow about 12″ to 24″ inches per year and can get 15 to 20 feet tall.  Unlike some other arborvitae they have a good root system so it’s unlikely that the wind will uproot them.  This plant will happily grow in zones 3 through 7 and they are popular and thriving way up in northern Michigan.  This plant was first discovered in Techny, Illinois, thus its name.  The common name is Mission Arborvitae, but it seems more people know them by the botanical name.

Are they deer resistant?  I don’t know for sure.  The deer will eat just about anything during the winter when their food supply is scarce.

Talk about a great plant to grow and sell!  Techny Arborvitae is extremely popular with landscapers and landscape architects.  When they use them in a landscape they often use many of them for a long hedge row.  They are popular among homeowners because people are always looking for something to plant for privacy.  I am definitely going to start growing Techny Arborvitae, and if I put them in the field and let them get 7′ tall, I won’t even have to dig them to sell them.  I know I could sell them right in the ground to another wholesale nursery that would send their crew over to dig them and haul them out of the field.  That’s when it gets easy!

But I like growing and selling plants like this in small containers because I can turn them over quickly and a lot of people are looking for a way to buy the plants they want and not have to pay $40.00 each for them.  Great item that you can bet I’ll be growing!

Here’s the thing about growing plants.  As soon as people find out that you are growing plants they immediately want to know where your nursery is located.  They get excited to find out you are growing and selling plants and they want to come and look.  I’ll bet insurance salesman and car salesman wish it were that easy to sell their product!

In other words, there is no selling.  People just come and buy.  More details about growing and selling small plants at home here.



  1. Jim says

    As Jan commented, I too have MANY dead brachlets. One of my 11 trees is really stressed and nearly is nearly gone. Any suggestions?

    • says


      All I can recommend is cut back the dead branches and see if the tree does better next year. They’re pretty hardy, did yours possibly dry out this summer?

      • Anonymous says

        They seem to go through a period in the fall where the ends of some of the branches dry out and turn brown, but the one in question never have the full, vigorous growth that it once had and seems to be dying.

  2. Mike says

    I’m looking to add a solid hedge of techny arborvitae to my backyard for privacy. I would like to plant my shrubs as close together as possible. In your article, you suggest planting them 48″ apart (4 feet) but my nursery thinks that’s way too close. They are recommending 6-8 ft apart at least.

    I’ve already planted 12 techny arborvitaes in a straight line, 4 feet apart. They’re telling me I should remove every other one, to give each plant’s roots more room to spread, and to avoid the shrubs from shading each other out.

    What do you recommend? They are still very young (only about 18″ tall) so I could leave them planted and hope for the best. Or I could dig up every other one and find another spot for them.

    Thanks in advance!

    • says


      I’ll stand by what I wrote. 8′ would be okay in an ideal world, but how long do you want to wait for these things to fill out? At 48″ the roots will be fine and eventually the sides where they touch will be damaged. But that’s the case with all hedges that are planted for privacy and the damage is never seen because the hedge is tight. Techney arborvitae is fairly slow growing, they will be awhile filling out.

  3. jan says

    I have an area that is shady and damp. Will these grow well there? I need a tall hedge to cover the view of our neighbors gazebo out our bedroom window.

    • says


      When you say shady and damp you make evergreens quiver! I’m afraid just about any evergreen planted in a shady area will just get thinner and thinner as time goes by. Then throw in the wet soil that will only make matters worse.

  4. Dolores Hayes says

    Dead needles and branchlets! I’ve never seen them on my old Arbor vitaes before, unless a branch broke due to snow, or died from lack of sun. In August, our neighbor hired an “arborist” to trim the branches on his side and he really hacked them back (good thing there was a fence to stop him!).

    Now I’m seeing lots of dead branchlets and needles. I first thought it was the drought this summer, but wondered if Mr. Trim was to blame? Or could be the thrips someone mentioned above? This is a living fence and I don’t want to lose it!

  5. Matt Horns says

    Here in Los Angeles, these trees have a habit of dying for no apparent reason. When they dry out they turn into an arboreal form of fireworks that explodes when in contact with a flame.

  6. Chris says

    Hi Mike,
    Reading your articles and watching your videos are lot of fun and knowledgeable.
    I use pitt moss to do the cuttings instead of playbox sand, is that OK ? How long do I have to water again the cuttings in the plastic bags and how long will the roots grow in the box and transplant them to the 4″ or 6″ boxes ?
    Thanks for your time to response.

    • says

      Peat moss is okay but it holds a lot of water and some cuttings will rot because of it. Any rooting medium has to drain really well.

  7. Trevor Hays says

    Is this plant like most other evergreens and best rooted w hardwood cuttings? Has anyone had any luck w softwood cuttings and intermittent mist with this arborvitae?

  8. allan taylor says

    three more weeks and I check out how some 50 cuttings are doing inside the white plastic bag contaning small cages filled with playbox sand(that might have been too fine). And I better have the nexxt stage ready to receive them. Some fun, Mike.

  9. Shirley says

    I think I have one of these lovely Arborvitaes in my yard. it is taller than the house–I think the original owners must have planted it as a “little guy” back in 1971 when the house was built! It is a beautiful thing–any care tips for it?

    Thanks, Shirley

  10. [email protected] says

    The Whitflys having a BALLm here on my has been Hedge. Maybe would like to change

    PS. Would like to cutt a 30 Foot GGOMBO LIMBO in 20 or 30 inches pieces and Plant them around my bachyard Please comment

  11. Patricia says

    Since I’m reading here, I will ask the question of what zones this beauty is good for? Even a member of the board, inquiring minds still need to know!

    Oops! I see where I missed the 3-7 zones; what comparable evergreen do you still see as a “favorite” for those of us in zone 8???

      • jackie says

        Hi Mike,
        My departed husband planted techny arborvitae about 20 years ago so they are about 15 feet tall. My neighbor cut all of the branches off the bottom. Will these branches grow back? If not, should they be replaced with mature ones – all the other ones along the hedge are mature (and not cut by my other neighbors), or will they grow fast enough to match the others soon? How much will either cost?

        • says


          They might fill back in but it won’t happen fast, if at all. Since the trees are so large they are shading the area where you are asking them to grow. However, trying to replace them might look worse than it does now and for a long time. It’s going to be really difficult, and very costly to find mature trees that will match the ones that you have. I’d be inclined to leave it as is and hope for the best.

  12. Gayle Struska says

    Mike, I can tell you for a fact that deer do love to eat the Arborvitae, We had a long hedge around our yard. The deer ate them right down, but being Arborvitae, they grew back just as big and lush as they were and more. That was Zone 3. I also later planted 3 of the columnar one’s that grew fast and tall. However, one winter we had a lot of rabbits population and they griddled my trees. I thought I lost them, but they grew 4 more years…then just like that, died. I should have protected the trunks.

  13. Ray Juschkus says

    Beware of Spider Mites with this plant. They can kill it in a few short months. I spray once a month. Ray

    • Jonas Marcinko says

      How do you spray and what chemicals do you use to spray and what ratio etc.

      I just planted 240 techny at 4 foot spacing.

      I need to keep these guys alive!

      Any good info will be appreciated.


      • says


        Most important thing to keep arborvitae alive is water as needed, make sure they are never in standing water, make sure they are not planted too deep and be careful about fertilizing if at all. Spraying? I’m not big on spraying unless I know that I have a pest problem then you really should use a spray for that particular pest.

        • Jonas says

          Mike, I have a question about staking the newly planted 4-5 ft techny. we are in the windy season here in Idaho with wind up to 30 mph. the trees seem to be holding up pretty good to the wind.

          but how critical is it that they don’t move back and fourth?

          With Watering. I have them on a drip line with two 1 gph nozzles on each tree. Do you usually water them every day for 30 min? that would give each tree about one gallon of water. pretty dry here in idaho.

          What do you usually recommend for watering?



          • says


            With evergreens you really only need to water them as needed. Too water water will kill them. It really depends on your soil. It should be cool and moist, not soggy. You can check it with your fingers or buy a moisture meter. The plants only need staking if the root ball is moving in the ground when the wind blows.

  14. derek says

    Mission Arborvitae Thuja
    I know from experience that deer love these shrubs and have had them eat ones down to a twig even when up to 6 feet tall in West Virginia

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