119 Concord Place
Syracuse, New York
Phone/Fax: 315-471-5854

Special Topics

Evergreen Identification

Arborvitae (Thuja)

The lower stems of arborvitae are browsed heavily by deer every winter.Eastern arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is native to Central New York and frequently referred to as white cedar (or deer food - as they're a favorite food of white-tail deer during the winter months, at right).

Here, `Emerald' arborvitae are planted as a hedge to define a property line.Often planted close together along property lines to create an evergreen hedge, many cultivated varieties (i.e., cultivars) can easily grow to widths of ten to twenty feet and heights of fifteen to thirty feet - or more. This often results in As arborvitae grow larger, they often shed their lower branches.the shading and gradual loss of lower branches - and their effectiveness as a privacy screen over the course of twenty to thirty years, at right.

Arborvitae are relatively easy to identify as their tiny (1/16 inch to 1/8 inch), scale-like leaves are compressed to form fan-like branchlets that are very flat as compared to other evergreens with scale-like leaves.

Tiny glands on the underside of the compressed leaves of arborvitae are a distinguishing characteristic.Another distinguishing feature are very small, raised bumps or “glands” that are often found just below the tip of many, but not all of the leaves on a branchlet, arrows at right.