The 'Green Giant' arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast growing evergreen. It has a naturally pyramidal to conical form and dense, rich green foliage that darkens or bronzes only a little in the winter. This is an excellent landscape tree for screening views, noise, and wind or as an ornamental specimen. It tolerates a wide variety of soils, but prefers moist, well drained soil, sun to partial shade. It is wind resistant once established, withstands heavy ice or snow loads, has no serious pest or disease problems, and shows better resistance than most arborvitae to browsing by deer. Under good growing conditions, 'Green Giant' can grow up to 3' a year to a height of 50'-60' with a 12'-20' spread. .
'Green Giant' arborvitae is a hybrid cross between western redcedar and Japanese arborvitae. It is a large, hardy, evergreen with a pyramidal to conical, uniform appearance. The dense, scale-like foliage in flattened sprays on horizon or ascending branches is a lustrous, medium green color that darkens or bronzes only slightly in winter. The leaves have a faint, pleasant fragrance. The young bark is cinnamon-red turning to gray-brown or red-brown.. Mature trees bear persistent, one-half inch, oblong cones that emerge green and turn brown. 'Green Giant' tolerates a wide range of soils and temperatures, but prefers moist, well drained soil and sun to partial shade. It has some drought tolerance once established. Wet or poorly drained sites should be avoided. It is very salt sensitive. Young plants should be protected from wind, but once established, this cultivar is wind resistant and can withstand heavy snow and ice loads. It shows better resistance to browsing by deer than most arborvitae. Little or no pruning is required, but shears easily if necessary. It is a fast grower up to 3' a year under good conditions. Mature height averages 50'-60' with a 12-20' spread.
Arborvitae provides nesting sites and cover for birds and small animals. The flower buds, seeds, and foliage are a food source, although this cultivar has greater resistance to deer browsing that most arborvitae.
In 1967, D. T. Poulsen from Kvistgaard, Denmark gave the U.S. National Arboretum a single plant, Thuja standishii x plicata. From this plant, the clone named 'Green Giant' was propagated. It is public domain tree, so anyone can propagate it from cuttings. The word arborvitae comes the Latin meaning "tree of life." 'Green Giant' arborvitae rapidly became a popular plant and is a good alternative for hemlock in the Northeast and Leland Cypress in the Southeast.
Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who assigned the Latin name to this species, picked up on one of the plants more sensory traits. The genus name, Thuja, is from a Greek word for perfume. Squeezing the evergreen leaves releases an aroma that is nothing less than nature's perfume. The specific name, occidentalis, means "west," the direction from Sweden where this tree was discovered.
The native North American tree, America Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), was useful in early canoes and medicines and became the first North American tree to be introduced to Europe.
Green Giant arborvitae prefers moist soil. Avoid poorly drained and wet sites.
Tiny, ovate, scale-like, ¼" -1/8" long, closely overlapping on divided branchlets, glossy medium green color. Leading shoots each have an inconspicuous resin gland, those on the smaller divisions are often without glands.
Small, inconspicuous, male yellowish, female pinkish color
One half inch oblong cones, green in summer, brown in winter.