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Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar’ (American Arborvitae)

American Pillar Arborvitae, Full Speed A Hedge®, Eastern White-Cedar, Northern White-Cedar

Thuja Occidentalis 'American Pillar, Instant Hedge, American Pillar Arborvitae, Evergreen Tree
Thuja Occidentalis 'American Pillar, Instant Hedge, American Pillar Arborvitae, Evergreen Tree

Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar’ is a highly popular cultivar of the Arborvitae, renowned for its dense growth and columnar form.

Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar’: An In-depth Look

‘American Pillar’ stands out with its upright, narrow, and columnar shape. It’s known for its dense, rich green foliage that remains vibrant throughout the year.

Native: Thuja occidentalis is native to North America. It is predominantly found in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada. This species naturally occurs in wet forests, swamps, and along lake shores, thriving in cool, moist, well-drained environments.

Plant Type and Habit: It is an evergreen conifer with a distinctly tall and narrow growth habit. This makes it an excellent choice for creating vertical accents in landscapes.

Size: ‘American Pillar’ can reach up to 20-30 feet in height (6-9 meters) and about 3-5 feet in width (90-150 cm), making it an ideal choice for areas where space is limited but vertical height is desired. Can grow up to 2 feet per year (60 cm) under ideal conditions.

Foliage: The foliage consists of flat, scale-like leaves that are a bright green color. The dense arrangement of the foliage creates a lush, textured appearance. When you bruise the foliage, it gives off a very pleasant fragrance reminiscent of citrus. Foliage tends to turn greenish-brown (burn) in winter from desiccation and/or quick temperature changes.

Bark: The bark is reddish-brown, relatively smooth, and becomes more textured with age.

Uses: Commonly used for privacy screens, hedges, windbreaks, or as a specimen plant. Its narrow form is particularly useful in urban gardens or confined spaces.

Hardiness: Hardy in USDA zones 3-8, it can withstand cold winters and a range of environmental conditions.

Wildlife: American arborvitae provides nesting sites for songbirds, as well as cover, especially in the winter, for deer, which both feed on the branches and use them for shelter from the cold.

Toxicity: Generally considered non-toxic to humans and animals.

Deer and Rabbit: May suffer some damage from deer and rabbits, especially in areas where these animals are prevalent.

Invasiveness: ‘American Pillar’ is not considered invasive and typically stays within its planted boundaries.

Benefits: Offers an easy-to-maintain, year-round green presence in the landscape. Its fast growth rate and dense foliage make it an excellent choice for creating quick privacy screens.

American Arborvitae Growing Tips

Light: Thrives in full sun but can also grow well in partial shade. Full sun exposure leads to denser foliage growth. Usually appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Protect from drying winds, especially when young.

Soil: Adaptable to a wide range of soils but prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic to neutral soil. Tolerates clay soils.

Water: Regular watering is important, especially for young plants and in dry conditions. Avoid extreme dry soil in the fall, which can cause the evergreen foliage to dry out in winter.

Fertilizer: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring. Over-fertilization can harm the plant, so follow the recommended rates.

Pruning: Minimal pruning required. Prune for shaping or size control in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Avoid heavy pruning.

Mulch: Provide a generous root zone mulch.

Propagation: Propagated through semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.

Pests and Diseases: Watch for bagworms, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Leaf tips may suffer damage from leaf miners. Canker can sometimes pose a problem. Fungal diseases like root rot can occur in poorly drained soils. Good air circulation and proper planting depth help prevent these issues.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Conifers, Trees
Plant Family Cupressaceae
Genus Thuja
Common names Northern White Cedar, Arborvitae, Eastern White Cedar, American Arborvitae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Thuja plicata ‘Zebrina’ (Western Arborvitae)
Thuja plicata ‘Whipcord’ (Western Arborvitae)
Thuja plicata Spring Grove® (Western Arborvitae)
Thuja orientalis (Oriental Arborvitae)
Thuja orientalis ‘Nana Aurea’ (Oriental Arborvitae)
Thuja occidentalis ‘Tiny Tim’ (American Arborvitae)

Recommended Companion Plants

Sedum (Stonecrop)
Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea)
Azalea and Rhododendron

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
Roots of Life: Exploring the Diverse World of Trees
37 Best Evergreen Trees for Privacy and Year-Round Interest
Cypress Tree: Popular Varieties and Growing Guide
Choosing Your Ideal Hedge: A Guide to Top Shrubs for Any Garden
Small Evergreen Shrubs for Year-Round Appeal
Thuja (Arborvitae)
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 7
Climate Zones 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3, H1, H2
Plant Type Conifers, Trees
Plant Family Cupressaceae
Genus Thuja
Common names Northern White Cedar, Arborvitae, Eastern White Cedar, American Arborvitae
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 20' - 30'
(6.1m - 9.1m)
Spread 3' - 5'
(90cm - 150cm)
Spacing 36" - 60"
(90cm - 150cm)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy, Evergreen
Tolerance Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds
Garden Uses Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, City and Courtyard
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Thuja (Arborvitae)
Guides with
Thuja (Arborvitae)
Not sure which Thuja (Arborvitae) to pick?
Compare Now

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