The many cultivars of arborvitaes of home gardening have been so extensively bred and selected that only the foliar texture resembles that of their ancestors. ‘Emerald Green’ which is also known by its Danish name ‘Smaragd’, is a cultivar of arborvitae that was developed from the white cedar, Thuja occidentalis,which grows wild from Minnesota to New Brunswick, as a forty foot tall tree!
‘Emerald Green’ grows quite fast while young, but should get no taller than about fifteen feet, and no wider than about four feet. It is one of the best columnar arborvitaes for tall hedging. Although they can be shorn, they are so dense and uniform that they are at their best if only occasionally trimmed of stray stems, or to keep taller specimens from getting too much taller than shorter ones.
The tiny evergreen scale leaves are tightly arranged on vertically arranged flat foliar sprays. Foliage is quite dense, and softer than that of most other conifers. A bit of shade is tolerable, but too much compromises foliar density. Bloom is barely noticeable, and seeded cones are not much to look at. The shaggy ruddy brown bark is handsome but seldom seen on well foliated specimens.