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Updated : 21/9/2014

Tree and Shrub Selection

Choosing the Perfect Trees and Shrubs

When you choose new trees and shrubs, think about what you want these plants to do in your landscape. Do you need shade or shelter from the wind? Does a corner of the yard need a spark of colour? Consider all the seasons of the year when you make your decision; the best shrubs and trees have practical or decorative value in several seasons, not just one. A Japanese maple, for example, may have ornamental leaves in spring and summer, colourful fall foliage, and interesting branching patterns and bark in the winter. I've chosen some of the best and most versatile landscape trees and shrubs for this section.

If you want to know more about flowering and shade trees, shrubs, and conifers, and how to care for them, pick up a copy of Trees & Shrubs For Dummies (Wiley). The book also lists many of the most attractive and disease- and pest-resistant varieties of each tree and shrub.

Shade trees

Shade trees frame the landscape, cool the space around them, and provide a backdrop for colourful flowering trees and shrubs. Most of these trees grow too tall for you to treat for pests or diseases, so if you're planting new trees, your best bet is to choose species that suffer few problems in the first place. If you already have large shade trees with chronic pests, or if you suspect disease, call an arborist who can diagnose the trouble and offer advice and treatment.

✓ Maple (Acer species): A large and diverse group of valuable landscape trees, maples range in mature size from 20 to 100 feet, depending on species. The larger species serve as shade trees; smaller ones make good specimens and street trees. Many maples are renowned for their brilliant autumn foliage; some also have attractive bark.

Maples that grow 25 to 30 feet high include trident (A. buergeranum), hedge (A. campestre), fullmoon (A. japonicum), Japanese (A. palmatum), Amur (A. tataricum), and Shantung (A. truncatum). All have yellow, orange, or crimson fall foliage. Larger species for shade include paperbark (A. griseum), red (A. rubrum; note this tree's bad habits in "Avoiding troublemakers," earlier in this chapter), and sugar (A. saccharum) maples.

Most maples prefer well-drained, fertile soil and regular moisture. Some maples, including hedge and trident, tolerate drier and less fertile soil, such as occurs near roads. For damp soil, try red or Amur maples. Prune only to remove dead, damaged, or diseased limbs, or any that rub or hang over buildings. Prune in early summer, avoiding late winter through spring, when pruning cuts will bleed sap profusely.

Leaf spots, cankers, caterpillars, borers, leafhoppers, and scale insects injure maples, especially those growing in stressed conditions or in unsuitable soils. Some species are also more prone to insects, disease, and structural damage than others, including box elder (A. negundo), silver (A. saccharinum), and sycamore (A. pseudoplatanus) maples. In hot, dry climates, look for brown leaf edges that signal leaf scorch. Give additional water to moisten the soil to a depth of at least 12 inches.

✓ Birch (Betula species): When you think of birches, you likely picture a clump of white-barked trees. Not all birches have white bark, however. Many actually make better landscape specimens, especially for organic gardeners, because they resist the most common and devastating pest the bronze birch borer and tolerate a wider range of growing conditions.

Birches cast light shade, making them good choices for cooling a shady seat. Most birches thrive in moist, well-drained, acidic soils, but try gray birch in drier situations and river birch in damp soil. Prune birches in late spring to early summer after the leaves have fully emerged. If pruned too early or late in the season, they bleed sap excessively. Avoid disturbing the soil around their shallow roots.

Birches are subject to attack from many insects and several diseases, including leaf miners, canker, and leaf diseases. The bronze birch borer decimates the white-barked birches, especially the European white birch throughout the eastern and midwestern United States, targeting stressed trees and older specimens first. The first symptoms of infestation are dead branches near the top of the tree.

Choose species that resist the bronze birch borer, such as Asian white (B. platyphylla japonica), gray (B. populifolia), and river (B. nigra) birches. If the pest is not a problem in your area, try white-barked paper (B. papyrifera) and European white (B. pendula) birches. All these birches are hardy in Zones 3 to 6 except Asian white birch, which grows north to Zone 4, and river birch, which grows south to Zone 9.

✓ Hackberry (Celtis species): These native North American species thrive in adverse conditions, tolerating wet to dry soil and urban to open prairie situations. They grow 40 to 60 feet tall and form an elmlike silhouette. Common hackberry (C. occidentalis) grows in Zones 3 to 9, tolerates midwestern wind and dry soil, and has wildlife-attracting berries. Sugar hackberry (C. laevigata) grows in Zones 5 to 9, prefers low wet areas, has smooth gray bark, and resists some common hackberry diseases.

Common hackberry is prone to a disfiguring disease called witches' broom that makes the twigs grow abnormally. The cultivar Prairie Pride resists the disease. Other problems include leaf spots and galls. Mourning cloak butterfly larvae enjoy its foliage.

✓ Ginkgo (Gingko biloba): Growing 50 to 80 feet tall and 30 to 40 feet wide, ginkgo is best suited to large yards. Young trees have a pyramid shape, but older trees become widely spreading. Varieties also differ significantly in width and shape. Ginkgo's pollution tolerance and neat habits make it attractive for planting along streets, in parks, and in other urban and suburban areas.

Not fussy about soil, the gingko thrives in Zones 4 to 8. It needs little care and has no significant pests or diseases. Choose a male cultivar such as Autumn Gold, Fairmount, or Princeton Sentry to avoid the unpleasant-smelling fruits that drop from female trees.

✓ Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicus): This tree has so many good things going for it that's it hard to go wrong by choosing it for your yard as long as you have the space to accommodate it. It grows 40 to 60 feet high and spreads just as wide from several branched trunks. The nearly round leaves are attractive from spring to their final fall blaze of apricot-orange.

Katsura prefers moist, slightly acidic, well-drained, fertile soil and full sun. Keep the soil moist but not saturated for the first few years after transplanting. Mulch to hold soil moisture. The species has no significant pests or diseases. For something different, look for the cultivar Pendula, which grows cascading limbs that reach 15 to 25 feet high with a wider spread.

  • Oak (Quercus species): The queen of trees, oaks suggest majesty wherever they grow. Oak species fall into three broad categories:
  • White oaks have leaves with rounded lobes and grow 80 feet high too large for most home landscapes.
  • Red oaks have leaves with pointed lobes and make better landscape specimens.
  • Narrow-leafed oaks don't have lobed leaves, and many are suitable for home landscapes.

Plant dormant, balled and burlapped, or container-grown specimens in well-drained soil. Pin oak (Q. palustris) and swamp white oak (Q. bicolour) can grow in wet soils. Preferred soil pH varies widely. Pin oak is especially sensitive to high pH soils, and the leaves will turn yellow if the soil isn't acidic.

Oaks suffer from many insect pests that eat their leaves including gypsy moths, oak moths, mites, and borers plus various fungus diseases. Few pests prove fatal to otherwise-healthy trees.

Other shade trees to consider are ash (Fraxinus spp.), beech (Fagus spp.), black gum (Nyssa sylvatica), Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis), hickory (Carya spp.), Japanese zelkova (Zelkova serrata), Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), lacebark elm (Ulmus parvifolia), linden (Tilia spp.), and yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea).

Flowering and ornamental trees

Flowering trees give your yard a colourful exclamation point whenever they bloom. The anticipation of cherry or crabapple blossoms marks the changing of the seasons, often highlighting the start of the gardening season.

  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier species): These trees grow about 20 feet high in Zones 3 to 7 and often form multiple-trunked trees with silvery bark. In spring, they produce clouds of white flowers, which ripen to delicious deep red to black fruits similar to blueberries by early summer. Their glossy, deep green, oval foliage turns brilliant yellow to orange in the fall. They have a few diseases, such as leaf spots and rust, and though insects pester them, no pests are serious. Plant in moist, acidic soils.
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis): Although hardy in Zones 5 to 9, individual trees may have a much narrower range, depending on where their fore-bearers grew. If possible, choose trees from a similar climate to your own. Trees grow up to 25 feet tall and tend to form wide-spreading, multiple-trunked canopies. Leaves are heart-shaped and follow the pink early-spring flowers. Plant in moist, well-drained soil and full sun to light shade. Canker disease is the only serious problem; prune infected limbs.

Varieties with unusual foliage include Forest Pansy, which grows in Zones 6 to 9 and has dark purple new leaves that mature to deep burgundy; and Silver Cloud, which has creamy-white, variegated leaves. Other varieties have flower colours ranging from white to reddish purple.

✓ Dogwood (Cornus species): Distinctive horizontal branching, clouds of spring flowers, and fiery autumn foliage make this group of landscape trees well loved. The most commonly planted species is flowering dogwood (C. florida), which is hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Many good varieties exist, including Cherokee Princess, which is very cold-hardy and disease-resistant. Another under-appreciated species is kousa dogwood (C. kousa), which grows in similar conditions but stays smaller and blooms later than flowering dogwood, and is more resistant to anthracnose disease.

Plant dogwoods in well-drained, moist, humus-rich soil. In hot climates, give midday shade. Canker, twig blights, anthracnose, and wood-boring insects frequently damage these trees. Prune out diseased wood when you see it. Dogwood is also prone to rot diseases if the bark is damaged take care with the mower and string trimmer!

  • Hawthorn (Crataegus species): This group of trees tolerates urban pollution and poor, dry soil; in return, it offers clouds of spring bloom, followed by crabapplelike fruits. Most have thorny branches and grow in Zones 4 to 7 or 8. Fire blight, leaf rust, blights and spots, apple scab, leaf miners, and aphids plague hawthorns. A few varieties such as green hawthorn (C. viridis), Lavalle hawthorn (C. x lavellei), and English hawthorn Crimson Cloud (C. laevigata) are more resistant to leaf diseases.
  • Magnolia (Magnolia species): Ranging in size from shrubs to magnificent trees, magnolias include both evergreen and deciduous species. Some grow only in warmer climates from Zones 6 to 9; others tolerate Zone

5 and even Zone 4. Magnolias prefer moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil with plenty of organic matter and full sun to light shade. Protect the shallow roots from drought and weed competition with a layer of organic mulch. Prune only to shape the tree and remove undesirable limbs. Magnolias as a group suffer from few pests or diseases except for saucer magnolia (M. x soulangiana), which is prone to several leaf diseases.

For shrub to small tree-size magnolias, look for lily magnolia (M. liliiflora); any of the Kosar-DeVos hybrids, such as Ann or Betty; sweetbay (M. virginiana); and star magnolia (M. stellata). Species that grow up to 30 feet tall include Yulan (M. denudata), Loebner (M. x loebneri), and many hybrids.

✓ Flowering crabapple (Malus species): One of the most widely grown flowering trees in Zones 4 to 7 for home and public landscapes, flowering crabapples have a lot to offer. Spring bloom, persistent and colourful fruit, and attractive branching and bark make them justifiably popular. Hundreds of varieties are available, and many of the newest ones have built-in disease resistance. Plant in nearly any well-drained, moderately fertile soil and full sun. Prevent weed and grass competition with organic mulch. Prune while dormant, in late winter to early spring.

Choose the best varieties by first looking at disease resistance. Crabapples suffer from many serious diseases, including leaf scab, cedar-apple rust, powdery mildew, and fire blight. Expect aphids, mites, caterpillars, rodents, and deer to take a bite too.

After selecting disease-resistant cultivars, select for flower colour (white to deep pink), height and growth shape (column to wide and low), leaf colour (green to reddish), and fruit size and colour (red to yellow).

✓ Stewartia (Stewartia species): If you have moist, well-drained, acidic soil, consider stewartia for its flaky, mottled bark; late-summer bloom; and striking fall foliage. Trees stay 20 to 40 feet tall, making them ideal for most home landscapes. They suffer from few pests or diseases and need little pruning.

Other small, ornamental trees include white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata), purple-leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera), red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and silverbell (Halesia carolina).

Flowering and ornamental shrubs

The seasonal stars of the show, flowering shrubs light up the landscape with drifts and spots of bloom. The best shrubs, however, offer more than a week or two of flowers; attractive foliage, stems, and colourful berries can carry the show through the rest of the year.

  • Summersweet (Clethra alnifoli): This North American native offers spikes of fragrant, white to pink, late-summer flowers that attract butterflies and many other pollinating insects. It grows 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, but the award-winning cultivar Hummingbird grows only 36 inches high. It grows in Zones 4 to 9 and prefers moist, acidic soil and part shade to full sun but tolerates less hospitable seashore conditions. It has few pests except for mites in overly dry sites. Prune to maintain shape and to remove spent flowers.
  • Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster species): Deciduous members of this group have small leaves; attractive fruits; and distinctive, herringbone-patterned branches. Some, such as spreading cotoneaster (C. divaricatus), grow upright to 5 or 6 feet, but most species remain under 3 feet tall. Creeping (C. adpressus), cranberry (C. apiculatus), and rockspray cotoneaster (C. horizontalis) spread up 6 feet wide, making them useful as ground covers.

Plant cotoneasters in nearly any well-drained soil, including sandy, heavy clay, drought-prone, salty, and high- or low-pH soil. Prune to shape or remove damaged limbs. Pest and disease problems include fire blight, leaf spots, canker, and spider mites.

  • Forsythia (Forsythia species): Cheerful, yellow, bell-shaped flowers welcome spring, but the shrubs frequently become straggly and overgrown unless pruned regularly. Prune after flowering in the spring, choosing one-fourth of the oldest stems and cutting them right to the ground. To ensure consistent flowering in the most northern parts of its Zone 4 to 8 range, choose hardy varieties, including Northern Sun, Northern Gold, and Meadowlark. Plant in nearly any soil in full sun. Although several species of insects attack forsythia, none is serious. Prune out twigs that die back.
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea species): Popular for its huge balls of white, pink, and blue flowers, this group of shrubs grows in nearly any soil and sun conditions. Most varieties prefer some midday shade in hot climates, however. As a rule, hydrangeas are tough as nails, although some are prone to powdery mildew in humid climates, and aphids, mites, and scale can cause some damage. Prune smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens) and panicle or PeeGee hydrangea (H. paniculata) in late winter or spring because they bloom on new growth. Bigleaf or French hydrangea (H. macrophylla) and oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia), however, bloom on last year's wood, so prune them right after they bloom in the summer, and avoid spring pruning.
  • Holly (Ilex species): This huge group of mostly evergreen trees and shrubs includes everything from the classic English holly (I. aquifolium) to the less-well-known inkberry (I. glabra) and hundreds of species and varieties in between. Hardiness ranges from inkberry's span of Zones 4 to 9 to the tender Chinese holly (I. cornuta), which prefers Zones 7 to 9. Most hollies produce large crops of attractive, persistent berries, but most species bear male and female flowers on separate plants. Plant at least one of each species if you want berries, and look at the plant names for clues about the sex of the shrub. Blue Boy and Blue Girl make good companions, as do China Boy and China Girl.

Hollies in general enjoy moist, well-drained soil and full sun, although Chinese holly withstands drought and flooding with aplomb. In windy areas and climates where the soil freezes, protect the foliage from drying out by covering with burlap or other windbreak material. Hollies suffer from many pests and diseases, including scales, spider mites, nematodes, leaf miners, and various bugs and caterpillars, as well as mildew and leaf spots. The most problem-free species include Yaupon (I. vomitoria), inkberry, and the Foster hybrids.

Winterberry (I. Verticillata), one of my favorite hollies, grows in Zones 3 to 9. It loses its leaves in winter but retains the characteristic masses of red berries. Winterberry has few pests or disease problems.

✓ Spirea (Spirea species): These easygoing shrubs are useful for informal hedges, foundation plantings, and mixed shrub borders. Most have flat clusters of little white to pink flowers; some, such as Magic Carpet and Goldflame, even offer three seasons of interest with their brilliant yellow foliage, floral display, and autumn colour. Plant in any well-drained soil, and give them full sun and regular watering in dry spells.

Spireas come under attack from many pests and diseases, but these attacks rarely prove to be fatal. After flowering, cut the weakest or oldest one-fourth of the shoots to the ground each year to keep shrubs vigorous and tidy.

  • Lilac (Syringa species): If you give your lilac moist, fertile soil and full sun, and prune it to remove spent flowers and weak growth, you can expect it to live for many years. Varieties now exist that can grow in any zone from 3 to 9. Major problems include lilac borer, scale insects, lilac blight, and powdery mildew. The common lilac (S. vulgaris) offers the widest range of flower colours, from white to pink and blue to deep purple. Some varieties have double flowers or extra fragrance. Meyer lilac (S. meyeri) and Manchurian lilac (S. patula) Miss Kim stay smaller than the common species. Japanese tree lilac (S. reticulata) grows 20 to 30 feet tall and has white blooms in June.
  • Viburnum (Viburnum species): This diverse group shares the attribute of profuse flowering; some, such as Korean spice viburnum (V. carlesii) and fragrant viburnum (V. x carlcephalum), have intoxicatingly fragrant flowers. Many also produce attractive berries, although with some species, such as Korean spice viburnum, you have to plant both male and female shrubs. Birds appreciate some native species for food. Most of these shrubs grow in any well-drained but moisture-retentive soil. Some prefer acidic soil; others are less fussy. Full sun to part shade suits them fine, depending on the species and climate.

Species that grow in dry soils include wayfaring tree (V. lantana), arrow-wood viburnum (V. dentatum), and blackhaw viburnum (V. prunifolium). Few pests or diseases cause serious damage.

Other shrubs to consider include azaleas and rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.species), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), red-osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), and Virginia sweetspire (Itea virginica).


Needle- and cone-bearing trees and shrubs, called conifers, provide the backdrop for more colourful garden elements and serve as hedges, screens, and windbreaks. Their imposing size and stiff formality make many evergreen trees difficult to integrate into small home landscapes. Think twice before planting a potentially 50-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce in your front yard! In larger settings, where the trees can attain full size, evergreen trees add grandeur and provide refuge for wildlife.

Shrub-size conifers are invaluable for the year-round colour and texture they add to the landscape. Some creep over the ground and drape over walls; others grow into neat cones, pyramids, and rounded cushions. Foliage colours range from gold through a wide range of greens to silver and even purplish. Some plants appear fuzzy and soft; others are stiff and bristly.


Although you can shape many conifers into geometric and fanciful forms, most don't require pruning at all except to remove dead, diseased, or damaged limbs and undesirable growth that detracts from the plant's appearance. In fact, pine, spruce, and fir trees that grow in whorls (with layers of branches around the trunk) will not sprout new limbs in response to pruning. To control their growth, pinch or prune their new, soft growth in late spring before it hardens, cutting into only the new tissue. Arborvitae, false cypress, cypress, juniper, and yew plants with random branching can tolerate more pruning, however, and usually will sprout new limbs to replace the ones that you remove. Conifers that usually grow into a pyramid shape with one central trunk sometimes develop additional leaders (competing main trunks) at the top of the tree. Remove all but one leader to retain the tree shape.

As a group, conifers suffer from their share of pests and diseases. The most troublesome pests include spruce budworm, bagworms, and various caterpillars. Bacterial and fungal diseases cause blights, cankers, and root rots. See Part III for more information about these pests and diseases. The best defence against disease is to plant your trees and shrubs in the soil and sun conditions they prefer, and keep them growing strong. Protect evergreens from drying winter winds wherever the ground freezes.

  • Fir (Abies species): Imagine the perfect Christmas tree, and you probably picture a fir. Firs have short, bristly needles and a pyramid shape. Although popular for home landscapes, balsam (A. balsamea), white or concolor (A. concolor), and frasier (A. fraseri) firs grow 30 to more than 40 feet tall and spread 25 feet or more at their bases when mature. Use as windbreaks, or plant as groups in large areas. Firs prefer cool, moist, acidic soils and don't readily tolerate dry, alkaline soil. They require no pruning except to remove damaged limbs. Insect pests include spruce budworms, bagworms, spider mites, and scales. Diseases include leaf and twig blights and rust fungus.
  • Cypress and false cypress (Cupressocyparis and Chamaecyparis species): These two closely related groups share many features but differ in their preferred growing conditions. False cypress (Chamaecyparis) prefers cool, moist, humid conditions; cypress (Cupressocyparis) enjoys the heat and drier soil found in more arid climates. The hybrid between the two groups, Leyland cypress, tolerates a wider range of soils and climates than either of its parents. Cypresses have flat, scale-like foliage that's compressed against the twigs, giving the branches stringy or fanlike textures.

Hundreds of varieties are available, including low-growing shrubs to stately trees. Leyland cypress is used widely for hedges because it grows up to 3 feet per year and tolerates salt spray and any soil except poorly drained. Hinoki (C. obtusa) and threadleaf (C. pisifera) false cypresses have many popular varieties used in home and commercial landscapes. Cypresses require no pruning except to shape the plant or remove damaged limbs. Bagworms are the only troublesome pests. Twig blight occurs in some areas but isn't prevalent.

✓ Juniper (Juniperus species): Versatile and tough as nails, junipers are justifiably among the most popular landscape shrubs. They tolerate poor, dry soil, as well as urban and roadside conditions; they come in a seemingly infinite number of shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. Depending on the species and variety, you can find a juniper to grow in any climate from coastal Florida to the Canadian plains. Ground-hugging forms make excellent carpets for slopes and lawn substitutes. Taller varieties serve as shrubs for hedges and planting around buildings.

In cold-winter Zone 3 or 4, and warmer, look for Chinese (J. chinensis, J. x media), creeping (J. horizontalis), savin (J. sabina), and Rocky Mountain (J. scopulorum) juniper varieties. Shore juniper (J. conferta) enjoys the heat in Zones 6 to 9 and tolerates coastal conditions.

Junipers can suffer from several insect pests and diseases, including bagworms, scales, webworms, borers, twig blight, and cedar-apple rust. Creeping juniper is more disease-prone than others, but savin juniper varieties Calgary Carpet, Arcadia, Scandia, Blue Danube, and Broadmoor resist juniper blight. In wet, poorly drained soils, junipers are prone to root rot.

✓ Spruce (Picea species): Give spruce trees plenty of room if you plant them in your landscape, because they tend to spread widely at the base as they mature, often measuring 20 feet or more across at the ground. Most spruce have a stiff, formal pyramid shape, which looks best in large landscapes or when the trees grow in groups. Use for windbreaks or large screens.

A few dwarf varieties are available; they grow into small mounds or weeping specimens suitable for planting in home landscapes. For dwarf varieties, look for Norway (Picea abies), Little Gem, Pumila, Nidiformis, or Bird's Nest Spruce; black (P. mariana) Nana; or white spruce (P. glauca) Conica, also known as Dwarf Alberta Spruce.

Spruces prefer cool climates and well-drained but moderately moist soil. Avoid planting them in dry soil and polluted urban locations. They often suffer from aphids, spruce budworms, bagworms, and other pests, as well as canker and twig blight.

✓ Pine (Pinus species): Most pines grow into large, picturesque trees up to 100 feet tall, but a few dwarf varieties stay small enough to serve in home landscapes. For small pines, seek out Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora) Umbraculifera, Japanese white pine (P. parviflora) Glauca, Japanese black pine (P. thunbergii), and mugo pine (P. mugo).

Pines have long needles that give them a softer texture than most other conifers. The needles occur in bundles of two, three, or five. Pines with the same number of needles in a bundle often have other common characteristics, such as growth habits and cultural requirements. Two-needled pines, such as Scotch pine (P. sylvestris), for example, tolerate drier soil and more heat than the five-needled species, such as white pine (P. strobus).

Pines don't tolerate air pollution or road-salt spray. Common diseases and pests include white pine blister rust, spruce budworms, and white pine weevils.

✓ Yew (Taxus species): Yews, among the most widely grown conifers for hedges and shearing into fanciful shapes, respond to pruning by sprouting ever-denser growth. Keep in mind that most yews will grow into

30- to 60-foot trees if allowed to do so. They grow best in well-drained, fertile, moist soil and full sun to part shade, and may need protection from the winter wind in cold climates.

In hot, muggy climates, look for the variety Tauntonii, which tolerates the summer heat better than most other yews. Pests include deer, weevils, and mealybugs, as well as blights and root rot.

✓ Arborvitae and white cedar (Thuja and Platycladus species): These tough trees and shrubs grow in a wide range of soils and climates, from soggy to well drained, in Zones 3 to 11. They need full sun to grow lush and full. Few pests or diseases cause them serious trouble, although bagworms, spider mites, blight, and canker can show up when plants are stressed. Protect them from road-salt spray and drying winter winds.

As trees, arborvitae grow up to 50 feet high, but many varieties stay shrub-sized and come in many shapes, including globe, cone, column, pyramid, and weeping. Some have yellowish foliage; others have deep green foliage. Choose a variety that matches your climate, soil, and specific landscape needs. Arborvitae make a classic tall hedge without shearing, and smaller varieties are suitable for planting around buildings

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