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Arborvitae trees are native to eastern Asia and North America. They are evergreen trees or shrubs from the cypress family. Easy to grow and maintain, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, like the American arborvitae that is wide and cone shaped, while the pyramidalis, are skinnier. The globe arborvitae is a rounded shrub that will only grow to a few feet off the ground. Arborvitae trees have scale like leaves that are soft to the touch, rather than prickly. Arborvitae trees prefer colder climates to warmer ones.
An annual pruning keeps them in the desirable shape; pruning is best done once in the fall or early winter. It is important to provide an Arborvitae with some winter protection against damage from ice and snow. While Arborvitae trees prefer slightly acidic soil, they will grow in a variety of soils, from clay to sandy loam. Preferring moist, well drained soil, they will tolerate extremes. These trees will grow well in full sun of partial shade and are extremely popular as a fencing or hedgerow plant.