Plant Encyclopedia

Planet Earth™ Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'RutThu4'

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Planet Earth Arborvitae with green foliage

Discover More Information On Planet Earth™ Arborvitae

Plant Earth™ Arborvitae has a perfectly rounded, dense habit without any shearing. It is similar in size to 'Little Giant' but has better foliage density. The green foliage takes on bronze tones in colder climates. Planet Earth™ thrives in warm climates, does equally well in cold climates, and is resistant to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight. This evergreen was bred by Dr. John Ruter at the University of Georgia.

Plant Attributes

Arborvitae, belonging to the Thuja genus, are a group of coniferous trees popular in landscaping due to their ease of care and versatile uses. The Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is a particular cultivar designed for its distinct attributes that make it an excellent addition to a variety of gardens and landscapes.

The Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is a medium-sized evergreen shrub, renowned for its vibrant, deep green foliage. The leaves, shaped like tiny scales, densely cover the shrub, lending it a rich, lush aesthetic throughout the year. This species stays green even in the heart of winter, providing a pop of color in an otherwise barren landscape.

Its naturally conical shape requires minimal pruning and is often used as a standalone feature or an anchoring plant in garden designs. The shrub displays a moderate growth rate, with its dense branching habit contributing to the fullness of its appearance.

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, this Arborvitae is also known for its hardiness. It's adapted to a wide range of soil types, though it prefers well-drained soils. It can tolerate both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile choice for varying garden conditions. Its resistance to common pests and diseases further adds to its reputation as a low-maintenance plant.

In terms of environmental benefits, the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae acts as a natural air purifier, thanks to its ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. It also provides habitats and food for certain types of wildlife, contributing to local biodiversity.

The Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is a cultivar that combines aesthetic versatility, robustness, and ecological benefits. It's an excellent choice for those seeking to create year-round visual interest in their garden or landscape, with the added advantage of minimal maintenance requirements.

Landscape Use

The Planet Earth™ Arborvitae's natural aesthetics and hardiness make it an excellent choice for several landscaping applications. Here are a few ways in which it can be used:

  1. Privacy Screen: Given its height, dense foliage, and upright growth habit, the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is often used to create privacy screens. It can effectively block undesirable views and reduce noise when planted in a row.
  2. Windbreak: This Arborvitae can serve as an effective windbreak when planted in a line. It can protect more delicate plants from strong winds, and also reduce soil erosion in windy conditions.
  3. Hedge and Borders: Thanks to its naturally tidy, conical shape, the Arborvitae makes an excellent hedge plant. It can be used to demarcate property boundaries or separate different areas within a garden.
  4. Specimen Plant: With its lush, green foliage and elegant shape, the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is an eye-catching standalone plant. It can serve as a focal point in a lawn or garden, drawing attention and adding interest to the landscape.
  5. Foundation Plantings: Arborvitae is often used in foundation plantings because of its predictable growth and low maintenance. Its size can help balance the visual impact of a large building, and its evergreen nature adds color to the landscape even in winter.
  6. Wildlife Habitat: This plant can be used in a wildlife-friendly garden as it offers shelter and food for certain types of birds and small creatures.
  7. Containers and Planters: While typically seen in landscape plantings, this Arborvitae can also be used in large containers or planters for those who want to add greenery to patios, decks, or urban spaces.
  8. Topiary: For those interested in garden art, the dense foliage of the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae can be trained and pruned into various topiary forms.
  9. Erosion Control: The robust root system of Arborvitae can help stabilize soil on slopes, making it a good choice for erosion control in certain landscapes.

When planting the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae for any of these uses, it's essential to consider its growing needs, including space, sunlight, and soil type, to ensure that it thrives and serves its intended purpose in your landscape.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae are relatively straightforward processes given its hardy nature. Below are some guidelines:


  1. Site Selection: Arborvitae prefer a location that receives full sun to partial shade. While they can tolerate a range of soil conditions, they thrive in well-drained, loamy soils. Avoid areas with standing water or heavy clay soils as these could lead to root rot.
  2. Spacing: Considering their mature size (10-15 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide), you should space the plants accordingly. If you're creating a privacy hedge, space them 2-3 feet apart so they'll grow together but still have room to thrive.
  3. Planting Process: Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Place the plant into the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the ground level. Backfill with the excavated soil, pressing down gently to remove air pockets.


  1. Watering: Regular watering is important, especially during the first few years after planting. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Once established, the Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is moderately drought-tolerant.
  2. Fertilizing: Fertilize in early spring with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer before the onset of new growth. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when applying fertilizers.
  3. Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant. This helps conserve soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and deter weed growth.
  4. Pruning: Little pruning is required thanks to the plant's naturally neat growth habit. However, if desired, you can prune in late winter or early spring to maintain size or shape. Avoid heavy pruning as this can cause bare spots that may not fill in.
  5. Pest and Disease Management: The Planet Earth™ Arborvitae is generally resistant to common pests and diseases. However, monitor for signs of issues such as spider mites or root rot. If problems arise, consult a local extension service or nursery for treatment options.

Planting and care practices can vary based on local climate and conditions, so it's always best to consult with local nurseries or extension services for the most relevant advice.

Additional Information

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Planet Earth™ Arborvitae


Plant Features

  • Height: 3-5'
  • Width: 3-5'
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Heat Zone: 8
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Rounded
  • Foliage: Bright Green

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