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Emerald Arborvitae has a radical new look! The classic columnar evergreen that graces countless landscapes in this country and abroad gets an extreme makeover in Highlights® Arborvitae. Instead of the rich green foliage you expect, it surprises you with a burst of bright lemon yellow. This sassy selection belongs to our Firefly collection and can be used as a single specimen in your beds, borders, and large containers as an energizing color spot. More daring homeowners may want to go all in and use Highlights® Arborvitae to create a stunning golden hedge that will dazzle all year long.
- Hardiness Zone: 5-8
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Arborvitae means “Tree of Life,” referencing a story that goes back to the sixteenth century. In 1535, French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew were stuck in what is now Quebec for the winter and were starting to die of scurvy (caused by a vitamin C deficiency). They were saved only when the local Iroquois people gave them some Arborvitae tea. (We’ll stick to orange juice!) Highlights® is a selection of Eastern Arborvitae, the same species that saved Cartier’s men. It was discovered in a nursery in Poland in 1999 and was introduced into this country in 2010.
Highlights® Arborvitae naturally forms a columnar shape and needs very little pruning to maintain its tidy form. If you want an even more formal look, however, you may give it a light shearing annually. Pruning it is a pleasure, because the foliage is soft—not prickly like other conifers—and the leaves and branches have a sweet, resinous fragrance when cut.
How to Grow
This dapper, formal evergreen specimen tree is an easygoing addition to your landscape thatgrows in almost any kind of soil. Although Highlights® Arborvitae will adapt to part shade, full sun will bring out the richest golden tones. Give it a good drink during dry spells. If the foliagestarts to turn brown, it’s too late! In deer country, protect this tree with a deterrent such as Plantskydd® Pest Repellant, or you may get some unsolicited pruning. The only other pest your Highlights® Arborvitae may encounter is bagworms. Look for little gray cocoons hanging from the branches, pick them off, and crush them under your heel—problem solved!
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