Plant Encyclopedia

Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'RutThu3'

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Lemon Burst Arborvitae

Discover More Information On Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae

Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is moderately sized with broadly conical form and tight habit. This evergreen thrives in warm climates, does equally well in cold climates, and is resistant to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight. Yellow new growth keeps its color even when grown in full sun. In cool climates during winter, the foliage takes on lovely orange tones. Lemon Burst™ was bred by Dr. John Ruter at the University of Georgia.

Plant Attributes

The Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is a striking, moderately sized, evergreen plant known for its distinctive color and conical form. It has a tight growth habit, reaching a mature height of 4-6 feet, and a width of 3-4 feet, lending it a broadly pyramidal shape.

One of the plant's key attributes is its vibrant yellow new growth, which remarkably retains its color even in full sun conditions. This lends the plant its signature 'lemon burst' effect, creating a striking visual contrast within a landscape. In addition, the plant is noted for the beautiful orange tones its foliage takes on during the cool winter months, especially in colder climates.

Bred by Dr. John Ruter at the University of Georgia, the Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is hardy and adaptable, capable of thriving in a wide range of climates. It falls into USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8 and AHS Heat Zones 8, indicating that it can endure both frosty winters and warm summers.

Another key advantage of this variety is its resistance to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight, a common disease affecting the Thuja genus. This resilience adds to the plant's suitability as a low-maintenance, visually appealing addition to gardens and landscapes.

In terms of exposure, the Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae prefers a full sun location to achieve its best growth and coloration. Its vibrant hues and sturdy structure make it an excellent choice for a specimen plant or for creating dramatic, low maintenance hedges.

Landscape Use

Given its unique coloration and structural characteristics, the Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae can serve multiple roles in a landscaping context:

  1. Specimen Plant: Its vibrant yellow foliage, especially striking in the sunlight, makes the Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae an ideal specimen plant. It serves as an eye-catching focal point in a garden or landscape.
  2. Hedging and Screening: Due to its moderate height and width, along with its dense, conical growth habit, the Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is an excellent choice for hedges or privacy screens. Planting these trees in a row creates a natural, year-round barrier that also adds visual interest.
  3. Border and Edging: The plant's consistent height and width make it ideal for defining borders or edging pathways in the landscape. It provides a neat and structured outline, enhancing the visual appeal of your garden.
  4. Winter Interest: The change of foliage to orange tones in cooler winter months can add interesting winter color to an otherwise dormant landscape.
  5. Container Planting: Considering its size and resistance to various climate conditions, it can be a good candidate for large container planting. This can be a great option if you're looking to add vertical elements to your patio, balcony, or terrace.
  6. Wildlife Garden: While specific to Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae isn't mentioned, generally, Arborvitaes are known to provide shelter for birds, enhancing the biodiversity of your garden.

Given its hardy nature and the fact that it requires full sun, Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae offers plenty of flexibility in landscaping design. Its disease resistance is an added advantage, making it a low-maintenance choice for various landscape applications.

Planting & Care

The Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is an adaptable plant that can thrive in a range of conditions. However, following certain planting and care guidelines will ensure its optimal growth and longevity:


  1. Choosing the Site: Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae does best in full sun. Make sure you select a spot in your garden where the plant will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Also, ensure the location has good air circulation to keep the foliage healthy.
  2. Soil: It prefers well-drained soil, tolerating a range of soil types, from sandy to clay. However, it's essential to make sure the soil is not consistently soggy, as this can lead to root problems.
  3. Spacing: When planting multiple Lemon Burst™ Arborvitaes, ensure there is adequate space between them to accommodate their mature width (3-4 feet).
  4. Planting: Dig a hole that is twice as wide and about as deep as the root ball. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the ground. Backfill the hole with the soil, firming it gently around the base of the plant.


  1. Watering: Water the plant thoroughly after planting. After this, regular watering is crucial, especially in the first few years while the plant is establishing its root system. However, be cautious not to overwater as it can lead to root rot.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature. Mulch can also help to keep weeds at bay.
  3. Fertilizing: While Arborvitaes are generally not heavy feeders, a balanced, slow-release fertilizer applied in early spring can help promote healthy growth.
  4. Pruning: Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae maintains its shape well, and generally doesn't require regular pruning. However, if you wish to shape the tree or control its size, the best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.
  5. Disease and Pest Control: Although Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae is resistant to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight, watch for other common pests and diseases. If you notice any signs of trouble, contact a local extension service or horticulturist for advice.

By following these planting and care guidelines, your Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae should flourish, adding color and interest to your landscape throughout the year.

Additional Information

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Lemon Burst™ Arborvitae


Plant Features

  • Height: 4-6'
  • Width: 3-4'
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Heat Zone: 8
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Broadly, Pyramidal
  • Foliage: Yellow

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