Techny Arborvitae, also known as Mission Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’
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.
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.
We have about 16 mature techny arborvitae used as a privacy screen but have decided to change our landscaping design. Can they be safely removed and transplanted elsewhere?
They can. Best time to move them is really early spring or in the fall.
I am very interested in Techny for a hedge row to screen the new housing development that is directly behind our church property. We have a large playground that stretches about half the width of the property.
Now the developers had dug a deep ditch that runs all along the backside so that the few trees along that line have roots showing on the ditch side. If I plant the arborvitae will that 10’ deep ditch expose the roots or help them to dry out easier? I can’t really plant them further in due to playground Equiptment being too close to the property line? I also have used back to Eden woodchip gardening methods and covered the area with 2’ deep in woodchips over a year ago. It definitely makes the soil way healthy and soft so easier to plant and also nutrient dense. Would that help in them being likely to live? Just don’t want to spend a lot of money for them to die.
I don’t think the ditch will cause any problems. If the roots reach that far and are exposed to air the tips of the roots are immediately killed, thus forcing more fibrous root growth closer to the base of the plant. In the industry we intentionally do this with tree seedlings, it’s called air pruning. Might it allow them to dry out easier? It could, but only until they are established. 24″ of wood chips will improve the soil but since they are only a year old they might make it difficult to keep the plants standing up right and you might have to stake them. Just be sure to not plant them too deep. That will for sure kill any plant, especially evergreens. No deeper than the top of the root ball.
Thanks so much for the response! I will order them and plant them!!
S. Poland says
Hi Mike. I am so stoked to have found this info! After several years of researching, I have landed on the techny as the tree to plant on our zone 4a farm in North Dakota. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to find a great grower/supplier. I am struggling to even find anyone who has the trees available. Is this typical or is specific to our area in the extreme upper Midwest? So strange to me given all that I have read about the characteristics of these trees–they would seem to be a natural fit for our climate.
I would expect them to be available on the wholesale market, but probably not as readily available retail. They grow slower than other arbs, which actually makes them desireable, but the typical retail buyer wants fast, fast, fast. With trees and other plants, the faster the grower the lower the quality in my opinion. That’s why Japanese maples command such a high price. I’d call a few wholesale growers and see if they grow them. If not, find out why. Will they sell to you? Maybe not, but if you find a landscaper that will buy them for you that would work.
I have a lot of cold wind here in the winter and prefer a tall, but narrow, hedge. If I plant with 4′ spacing will that cause the trees to be shorter at maturity? If so, do you have a rough estimate of the difference in height if spaced at 6 feet vs 4 feet?
I don’t see where it would make a difference.
My Techny Arborvitae are all turning brown. They were just planted in May. Are they all dying? We paid a lot for these and cannot afford to replace. I have pictures if you need to see firsthand.
This time of year it’s not unusual for arborvitae to show some brown inside the tree. But foliage on the outside of the tree that is exposed to sun should look good. If the outer foliage is turning brown that’s a terrible sign and I would say 1. They dried out. 2. They are way too wet. 3. They are planted too deep.
Thank You for your reply. Breaks my heart losing any tree or shrub.
Hi Mike, thanks for your reply, but you didnt say how tall the plant should be when purchasing.
Also i live in MD and i tried locking for this plant and i have had no luck. Are you sure thats what its called. Everytime i google it emerald green comes up along with other arborvitea plants. So please point me in the right direction. Thanks.
I was hoping to find them at the big box stores as they are running a 50 percent off their inventory. I dont have a big budget but i have a large area to hide.
I am sure that’s what it’s called and you are not likely to find them at big box stores. They tend to sell things that grow fast and bring a lower price on the wholesale market. If you find them, expect to pay close to $100 each for them.
Bruce Bliek says
My house sets close to the road. A hedge of Techny Arborvitaes sounds like a good thing to plant to separate the road from the house
I live where roads are plowed and salted in the winter. Your mentioned Techny have shallow roots. I’m wondering if they would do well exposed road salt or how far back from the road it would be safe to plant them?
I really don’t know, you’d have to research and see if they are salt resistant. A pretty common issue with evergreens that get hit with salt spray.
Mike, I need to introduce a privacy screen along our property line. Our neighbors are lovely, but since they thinned out the wooded land between our houses I can see their yard clearly from our back deck, main bedroom and back bath, meaning, therefore they can see us too. We love our privacy, could I plant Techny arborvitae through a patchy section of woods (that has small native trees, some oak, poplar and lots of pine) to block the view of our back deck? I would prefer something that would grow to at least 25′ or 30′ as quickly as possible. What else might work?
Techney would be too slow growing. Think about Dark Green or Green Giant arborvitae. I just hope they get enough sunlight to do well.
Hi mike. Great article now ill go track them down.
But on another note. Ive just dug out my daylillies they were not doing well and looked messy. I tried to find a video on dividing etc but the only one i keep finding is the root daylilly. Minebis the one with all those bulbs.. like dahlias.. if i miss one or it becomes detatched will it regrow, or is it like the dahlia tuber useless if detatched. Please help. Im wanting to replant these but how, should i split the clumps.. please say youve got a video on these day lillies. All i know is i can eat them like patatoes, maybe ill do that with all the ones that keep falling off, incase they start to regrow in thenplace i just removed them from.
Let me know whrn youve answered my email.
Just divide them in as small pieces as you like, and replant the roots. Don’t worry about the tubers, they really make no difference whether you keep them or lose them.
Yasmin Dasoo says
Hi mike, back to this evergreen. You say to biy small plants, what is small. I got 1 foot emeralds, but felt they were too small. So i got a 3 to 4ft one. Whichbone is better to plant for a privacy hedge?
3 to 4 feet will give you privacy faster but they grow tall and skinny at the top so they are not the ideal choice for privacy unless you plant a double row of them.
This comment section has been so helpful- techny might be the answer to what I’m looking for! My question: Can techny handle being pruned down yearly so it stays around 12-14 feet tall? I know it’s pyramidal in shape- is there a way to encourage it to fill out dense to the top, so it’s a nice solid screen for 12-14 feet? My backyard is against a highway, and I want a dense evergreen screen to block the view of passing cars. However, across the highway is a beautiful reservoir. Something around 13 foot tall is the sweet spot between blocking the view of the road, but still keeping my view of the water. I’m in Denver, CO, and they will be planted east facing, in full sun, replacing lilac bushes. Any wisdom is appreciated! 🙂
I think they will respond well to that kind of pruning if you need to.
Perfect, thank you so much for taking the time to reply!
Rhonda Hafendorfer says
What is your recommended watering for newly planted techny arbs.
Mine are planted on a berm in MI. Just planted and weather is still cool.
(II read so many different things I’m so confused! (I.e….Slow trickle for 2-4 hours seems extreme).??
That does seem extreme. If they are planted in the ground I would soak them really well on day one, then water each one for just a minute or so every few days for a while. Come summer when it’s hot and dry water them really well at least once a week. On a berm they’ll dry out faster but with the root ball in the ground, they should hold moisture pretty well. Stick your finger in the soil, it should be cool and damp, not soggy. And of course spraying the foliage a bit each time you water is also good.
May I ask what would be better emerald green arbor or techy? My I’m looking to cover up unsightly neighbors yard and get some noise reduction from there constant music.
Techney would be better. It grows wider and fuller than Emerald Green.
When you say they have a “good root system” does that mean the roots are deep? I want to plant a row for privacy but just learned the sewer line is very close to where they would be. Could their roots be deep enough to cause a problem? Thanks!
I can’t tell you whether planting there is safe or not so I’ll just make a few points.
1. Arborvitae in general are shallow rooted evergreens. Usually not going any deeper than 24″.
2. A sound, intact, sewer line should be completely sealed, as in PVC pipe that is glued together at the seams. Unless it’s an older sewer line that is made with clay tile. That can be more problematic.
3. A septic line is very different. Leach lines are not sealed, they are designed with holes in the pipe so they can drain, allow the water to seep out. And of course that can allow roots in.
Technito is another option for people who want a dwarf version of the techny arborvitae.
Thanks Trey, I need to look into that.
John Pringle says
Hi Mike, I have 6 Techy Arborvitae as a privacy screen. They were planted in 1992 at 2′ tall. They are now about 20′ tall and quite wide. They were pruned occasionally over the years to keep on the property. Can the be topped? If so, how much can be taken off? Thanks.
They can be, but that will cause more shoots growing upright, multiple leaders. But if you top them then keep up with the pruning it should work. No promises though, these are very established plants. I’d do it after Thanksgiving when dormant.
Does Techny Arborvitae grow in the high desert of California we can plant here plants that grow in Zone 8,9,10 Mike could you please tell me if they will survive the desert heat the norm for temperatures here is about 102 degrees some days on occasions during heat waves it’s about 10-15 degrees higher
I don’t honestly know, I’d suggest some research. See if they are commonly bought and sold in your area.
Elizabeth Serrano says
Yes. We are in sweltering Houston TX and i have seen them survive for years here
Norm Guilloud says
Mike Thank YOU for all the time you use to help us…..
What to do for spider mites and for bag worms? Thanks, Lin
The bag worms you can remove and burn or spray for both. Spider mites can often be washed away with water, they like it hot and dry. Or use a miteicide.
Paul Sober says
Food grade diatomaceous earth is great for mites (fgde), when applied properly.
Red Lu says
I have used hairspray on bagworms. Spray the nests, they all stick together and if it’s a hot day? Let them fry. Then take shopping bags (plastic) and remove.
They look like holstrump. Dwarf arb. In the picture
Would you recommend the techny vs the American for a nice looking green fence line along our house?
In mind Techney without a doubt.
Jeff D says
Arborvitea is the last planting you will want to use in S.E Ma. It is a favorite of our Deer population. They will browse from the ground up to shoulder height creating an unsightly, unattractive, non-private mess. The final shape resembles a very large morel mushroom.
if you have a deer population in your area, don’t waist you time and money.
I planted Techny arborvitae this year in early June. They were very large…7-8″ tall and about 5.5-6′ wide. The landscaper bermed the area it was planted. I watered to the schedule they gave me all summer. Color was beautiful all summer. As of 1st week of Oct., they started turning a little yellow in the very inside of the bush and only inside. Is this normal?
Brown or yellow inside of the plant is normal this time of year. Just be careful to not over water them. They should need little water now.
I planted 30 of these last spring. They did not look terrific going in – they are open and had some browning in the fall and overwinter. The nursery assured me that if I feed them that this spring they will fill in green again. Also they didn’t stay dark green like Techny is supposed to be – maybe I don’t have techno? Is there a way to tell?
Thanks for the advise!
It would be really difficult to tell for sure unless they were mature plants. My biggest concern is that they are not planted too deep or in wet soil. Other than that they should thrive. Be careful, fertilizer can do more harm than good if over applied.
Lauren pick says
I’m wondering how & when to prune a ‘Techny Globe’ Arborvitae?
Globe arborvitae can be pruned in the fall, just shape them up as needed. Techney arborviate is an upright arborvitae and needs little pruning.
My tech arborvitae are 12 ft high and 6-7 ft wide. Getting thin in the center so you can see thru them. I’d like to trim them back widthwise in hopes they thicken up with new growth. Ok?. And what time of year to trim?
Trim them while dormant but be careful about not removing all of the green, they likely won’t recover from that severe a pruning.
Linda Lucas says
We just planted nine 5 to 6 ft. tall techneys. We live in southern Maine near the coast and get cold, snowy winters. Should we wrap our trees in burlap for this winter?
Techney are pretty tough, cold and snow shouldn’t bother them. Truth be told, cold permeates everything, the most the burlap could do is break the wind a little. Around here growers have thousands of them growing in open fields.
Mark Desmarais says
How did these work out? I see its been over two years since your post. I’m in Southern Maine and thinking about these same trees.
As Jan commented, I too have MANY dead brachlets. One of my 11 trees is really stressed and nearly is nearly gone. Any suggestions?
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
[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
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???
Some say Techney arborvitae will grow in zone 8, so I think it’s worth a try.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
As always, youdaman!