Plant Encyclopedia

Tall Guy™ Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'RutThu5'

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Tall Guy Arborvitae

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Tall Guy™ is a moderate to fast-growing, upright, columnar arborvitae. A better plant in production and the landscape than Emerald, Tall Guy™ matures quickly with a single liner and has no gaps in the habit from multiple leaders like other cultivars This evergreen thrives in warm climates, does equally well in cold climates and is resistant to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight. Tall Guy™ was bred by Dr. John Ruter ar the University of Georgia.

Plant Attributes

This evergreen plant showcases a vibrant bright green foliage throughout the year, contributing a pop of color to any landscape. The overall form of the tree is compact and vertical, making it an excellent choice for creating privacy screens, windbreaks, or accentuating vertical elements in a garden design.

Measuring 8-12 feet in height and 2-3 feet in width at maturity, this moderate to fast-growing arborvitae boasts a dense, uniform habit without the gaps typically seen in cultivars with multiple leaders. This aspect also contributes to its ease of production, making it a preferred choice over the Emerald variety in both cultivation and landscaping applications.

Tall Guy™ Arborvitae thrives in hardiness zones 4-8, indicating its adaptability to a range of climates. From the cold winters of the northern regions to the heat of zone 8, it demonstrates resilience and versatility. Its preference for full sun conditions means it does best with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

One of the distinguishing features of the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae is its resistance to Passalora/Cercospora needle blight, a common fungal disease that can cause significant damage to arborvitae and other conifer species. This resistance makes it an even more appealing choice for growers and landscapers seeking low-maintenance, disease-resistant plants.

The Tall Guy™ Arborvitae's unique characteristics and robust performance affirm its value as an attractive and functional addition to diverse landscapes.

Landscape Use

The Tall Guy™ Arborvitae's distinct attributes make it an excellent choice for a variety of landscaping uses:

  1. Privacy Screening: Given its columnar shape, bright green, dense foliage, and relatively quick growth, the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae is a great choice for creating privacy screens. Planted in a row, these trees can provide a living, green wall that can block views, reduce noise, and shield your space from wind.
  2. Accent Plant: With its vibrant green color and distinctive shape, the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae can serve as a striking accent plant. It can help to highlight certain features of your landscape or provide a contrast to other plant forms and colors.
  3. Hedging: This arborvitae is also useful for formal or informal hedging due to its dense, evergreen foliage. Its columnar growth habit allows it to maintain a neat appearance with minimal pruning.
  4. Foundation Planting: Used as a foundation plant, the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae can soften the harsh lines of buildings, provide a backdrop for other plants, or even act as a windbreak protecting your home.
  5. Vertical Element in Gardens: Its upright growth habit makes it an excellent choice for introducing vertical elements into a garden, particularly in smaller spaces where width might be limited. It can draw the eye upward, adding a new dimension to the landscape.
  6. Wildlife Habitat: The dense foliage can provide cover for birds and small mammals, making the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae a good choice for wildlife-friendly gardens.
  7. Container Planting: In zones where it might not be fully hardy, or for those with limited space, the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae can be grown in a large container to provide greenery on a patio or balcony.

Although the Tall Guy™ Arborvitae is hardy and adaptable, it will thrive best with proper care, including planting in full sun and well-drained soil. Its ability to resist common diseases further enhances its value as a versatile landscape plant.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for your Tall Guy™ Arborvitae involves several key steps to ensure its health and growth:


  1. Selecting the Site: This Arborvitae thrives in full sun, so choose a site that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Although adaptable, it prefers well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging.
  2. Digging the Hole: The hole should be twice as wide and just as deep as the root ball of the plant.
  3. Planting: Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with or slightly above the ground surface. Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the root ball.
  4. Watering: After planting, water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots and to help the plant establish.


  1. Watering: The Tall Guy™ Arborvitae has moderate water needs. While it's establishing, ensure it gets regular water. Once established, it's fairly drought-tolerant but will appreciate consistent moisture, especially in dry periods. Avoid waterlogging as this can lead to root rot.
  2. Fertilizing: Feed with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer once a year in early spring to promote vigorous growth.
  3. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant (without touching the trunk) to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.
  4. Pruning: The Tall Guy™ Arborvitae typically doesn't require much pruning due to its naturally neat, columnar growth habit. If necessary, light pruning can be done in late winter or early spring to maintain shape or remove any dead or damaged branches.
  5. Monitoring Health: Despite its resistance to common diseases like Passalora/Cercospora needle blight, it's important to regularly check your plant for signs of pests or disease. If you notice anything unusual, consult a local extension service or a trusted nursery for advice.

By following these planting and care instructions, your Tall Guy™ Arborvitae can thrive and provide beauty and functionality in your landscape for many years.

Additional Information

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Tall Guy™ Arborvitae


Plant Features

  • Height: 8-12'
  • Width: 2-3'
  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Heat Zone: 8
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Habit: Columnar
  • Foliage: Bright Green

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