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Degroot’s Spire vs Emerald Green Arborvitae: What Is The Difference Between The Two Cedars?

Privacy plants are a must-have for many yards these days. Everyone loves a secluded spot where they can relax away from nosy neighbors and the gaze of people walking by. Let’s dive into two very popular trees that are great for creating privacy.

The main difference between Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae and Emerald Green Arborvitae lies in their growth habits and size. Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae is known for its narrow, columnar shape and can reach up to 20 feet tall, making it ideal for tight spaces. It grows slowly and maintains a slender profile.

On the other hand, Emerald Green Arborvitae, while also columnar, is shorter and broader, typically growing up to 12-14 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide. It’s favored for its denser foliage and faster growth rate, making it a popular choice for privacy hedges and screens.

Degroots Spire vs Emerald Green Arborvitae

Degroot’s Spire and Emerald Green Arborvitae

Degroot’s Spire Arborvitae Emerald Green Arborvitae
USDA Hardiness zone 3-8 3-7
Mature height 15-20′ (4.5-6 m) 15-20′ (4.5-6 m)
Mature width 3-4′ (0.9-1.2 m) 4-6′ (1.2-1.8 m)
Growth rate slow fast
Light exposure full sun, partial shade full sun, partial shade
Soil moist, well-drained moist, well-drained
Soil pH 5.5-7.0 5.5-7.0
Watering Once a week in a drought Once a week in a drought
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects, mites insects, mites

Branches and Leaves

Firstly, the most noticeable feature of Degroot’s Spire is its significantly twisted branches and leaves, which give it a unique and fascinating appearance. This twisting results in a highly textured and non-smooth outline, making it an eye-catching variety.

On the other hand, Emerald Green also exhibits some twisting, particularly in the middle and lower sections, but it’s less pronounced compared to Degroot’s Spire. Its outline is more uniform, with only minor irregularities occasionally visible.

For those looking to use arborvitae as a standout, single plant in their garden, Degroot’s Spire is the more visually striking choice. However, for hedge purposes, Emerald Green is more suitable due to its more consistent appearance and other qualities that make it an excellent screen plant.

Growth Rate

Emerald Green is a robust plant with an annual growth rate of about 1 foot, primarily in height, while its width increases very slowly, no more than 4 inches per year.

Conversely, Degroot’s Spire grows at a slower pace, with a height increase of 6 inches per year and an even lesser width expansion. However, its growth rate can be enhanced with ample fertilization and watering.

Therefore, if you’re aiming for a tall screen quickly, Emerald Green is the preferable option. For a lower hedge or a stand-alone plant, Degroot’s Spire is the better choice.


The shapes of Degroot’s Spire and Emerald Green Arborvitae differ significantly. Degroot’s Spire is more elongated, growing primarily upwards with minimal width expansion. At full growth, its width typically doesn’t surpass 4 feet.

In contrast, Emerald Green has a broader form, expanding more quickly in width than Degroot’s Spire. It can reach a width of 6 feet or more at maturity. To encourage even wider growth, regular annual pruning at the desired height can promote faster expansion.

When creating a hedge, fewer Emerald Green plants are needed due to their wider growth. This results in a larger spacing between plants, yet they still form a dense screen more rapidly. If opting for Degroot’s Spire for the same purpose, more plants are required to cover the same area, or you’ll need to wait longer for them to form a complete screen.

For a garden arrangement focusing on vertical accents, Degroot’s Spire is the ideal choice due to its upward growth pattern.


Both of these plants form several trunks during growth. This is definitely a disadvantage because in winter heavy snow can break the arborvitae. This can even happen in strong winds.

So, Degroot’s Spire creates fewer additional trunks than Emerald Green. Also, Degroot’s Spire holds its shape better and doesn’t fall apart as often as its competitor.

To avoid this situation, you should occasionally prune the young shoots which are growing upright, leaving only one central shoot. If it does fall apart then you need to tie the trunks together with rope.


In conclusion, the choice between Degroot’s Spire and Emerald Green Arborvitae depends largely on your specific landscaping needs. If you desire a tall, fast-growing screen, Emerald Green is the ideal choice with its quicker width expansion and denser foliage.

However, for a distinct, narrow, and vertical element in your garden, Degroot’s Spire, with its unique twisted branches and slower, upward growth, is more suitable. Both require some maintenance to prevent damage from weather conditions, but each offers unique aesthetic and functional qualities that can enhance a variety of garden spaces.

Ultimately, understanding these differences will help you make the best choice for your garden’s design and functionality.