Spring into action! Are you ready for the spring planting season?

Spring is nearly here and we couldn’t be more excited. Soon we will be enjoying the beautiful colors and fragrances of spring trees and shrubs – like the dogwood, Japanese flowering cherry and of course the lilacs.

Japanese Cherry Bloss

Japanese flowering cherry

Now is the perfect time begin your spring planting planning and ordering! The Arbor Day Foundation Online Tree Nursery has a large array of affordable trees and shrubs. You will find fast-growing trees, flowering trees, fruit trees and every tree in between. And we will send your trees to you during the optimal time to plant in your zone, ensuring their health and longevity.

Or maybe you need some landscape design inspiration? Arborday.org has free, professionally designed landscape plans that focus on trees and shrubs, available to download for free. For example, we have a plan called flowering green giant, this a design plan combining a beautifully contrasting trio of trees—the rich green of a green giant arborvitae, the sprightly, springtime yellow of forsythia, and the dazzling profusion of white blooms that grace the yoshino cherry tree. Other designs include the a bird-attracting tree/shrub combination (Bird Magnet Hedgerow), a blooming shrub plan set beneath an existing shade tree (Shrubs Under a Shade Tree) , a flowering tree/hedge plan planted along an existing wood line (Flowering Woods Edge) – just to name a few.

Bird Magnet Design

Bird Magnet Hedgerow Design

If you already have your trees and are ready to plant consider reading our 9 Tree Care Tips & Techniques, an easy-to-follow guide that takes you step by step from selecting and planting the right tree, to the care and upkeep of a mature tree. Remember, what you do to your tree in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. Planting done with care and some knowledge of trees and their needs will help your trees grow more rapidly and live at least twice as long as improperly planted trees.

Finally, before you get that hole dug and your new tree planted, make sure you’ve got “Right Tree in the Right Place.” Planting an appropriate tree in an appropriate location is vital for the health and longevity of the tree as well as your satisfaction with it—for example, a tree too close to the house could be a hazard, and a tree with “too-tall” potential will be unlikely to remain if it interferes with a power line overhead.

Right Tree Right Place

Are you gearing up for spring planting season? What do you plan to plant this year? Please let us know in the comments.

Brianne Bayer


  1. We live on the north central border of Oregon. Thirty years ago we planted a border of emerald (front yard) and columnar (back yard) arborvitae. I am a horticultural entomologist (now retired). At the time I looked up information on growth to expect with these plants.
    Columnar arborvitae grew much as described, but had significant problems with mites, scales insects and bark beetles. They have a maximum diameter of about 5 feet. They grew to about 25 feet height. Because of problems with mites and bark beetles I would not recommend them for urban plantings.
    Emerald was reported to grow to a maximum diameter of 8 feet and maximum height of 15 feet. Our emerald arborvitae are now about 30 feet tall and have a base diameter of about 12 feet. The base diameter seems to have stopped increasing, but they still are increasing in height. Emerald is a great variety. It provides a barrier to movement of large animals and people if planted as a hedge. It is easy to maintain. There are a few considerations that are very important in location however. (1)The tree must have areas for healthy root growth surrounding it. If planted against a barrier to adequate light or water(building or tall privacy fence)the tree will develop poor root growth, thus leading to leaning or falling. (2) Normal growth of these trees causes a substantial accumulation of dead needles in the inner portion of the plant. This happens whether they are grown individually or in a hedge. Our solution to this is to keep the lowest limbs (2 feet above ground) pruned and dead needles removed each fall and spring. (3) Arborvitae all appear to be very sensitive to herbicides that are not recommended for use with them. (4) Lastly, they must have adequate water (they need more water in our location than the lawn does), particularly before winter and early in the spring.
    We have had some concern that those near to the house might be a fire hazard, but I have no found any references to arborvitae being associated with house fires. I suspect that well watered arborvitae are no more likely to burn than most other plants. We did have a discarded(assumed) cigarette light a small fire in one by the sidewalk, but the fire burned out without expanding beyond the immediate location of the source.

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