The Origin of Thuja occidentalis ‘American Pillar Arborvitae


The American Pillar Arborvitae


The Patent Developer
John E. Houser
Woodstock, GA, USA

A sport of the ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ cultivar of Thuja Occidentalis tree (commonly known as arborvitae) called “American Pillar”. It is nearly twice as dense in its branching habit as the ‘Hetz Wintergreen’. It also has a brighter green coloring in the winter. Its increased foliage density makes possible better wind, sight and sound screening with a narrow evergreen hedge. It is reproduced by rootings cut from a parent stock of ‘American Pillar’.
Updated Information On The Orgin of American Pillar Trees.



The invention that is the subject of this application is a new and distinct variety of Thuja occidentalis that is fast growing for the species, very narrow, and distinctly different from any other Thuja occidentalis known to the inventor in that it is much more compact in its growing habit. This new variety was found growing in the inventor's nursery in Cherokee County, Georgia. It was a naturally occuring branch mutation of one of a number of rooted cuttings of the ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ variety of Thuja occidentalis planted in 1999. In the following six growing seasons, the original plant of this new variety grew to be more than twenty-one feet (seven meters) tall, and slightly more than three feet (one meter) wide.
While this new variety resembles its ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ parent in growth rate and general shape, its foliage is approximately twice as dense as its parent due to closer internode spacing. Its substantially denser foliage greatly enhances its utility as a screening plant. It is better able than its parent to serve as a windbreak, and as a sight or sound barrier. It surpasses its parent in visual appeal. Its trunk is strictly vertical, and almost always singular, seldom dividing. Its root system is substantial, and well able to sustain the tree against wind damage. Its short lateral side branches make it almost immune to snow and ice. Another distinguishing characteristic is that it maintains a brighter green color in winter than its parent, probably because its denser foliage protects it from the winter sun and wind.

The present invention is a sport of the ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ cultivar of ‘Thuja Occidentalis’ (commonly known as arborvitae) called ‘American Pillar’. It is similar to the Hetz Wintergreen in most of its characteristics, but has the following distinguishing traits:
    • 1. It is nearly twice as dense in its branching habit as the ‘Hetz Wintergreen’.
    • 2. It has brighter green coloring in the winter.
Its increased foliage density makes it better able to serve as, a windbreak, better able to screen sight and/or sound, and enhances its visual appeal. It is unsurpassed in any landscape requiring screening, especially if space is a consideration, as even a narrow hedge can be an effective screen. It is also useful in landscaping as an exclamation point, or to draw attention to a sign.
‘American Pillar’ will grow in any reasonable soil. After being established, it can stand as much heat and drought as any arborvitae used as a landscape plant, as it withstood natural conditions in an outdoor nursery without any care. It can survive much more “wet feet” than most plants, as it is native to swamp habitats. (By “wet feet” it is meant that it can survive swampy conditions.) It does best in sun to half shade, but does not do as well in full shade.
‘American Pillar’ resembles its ‘Hetz Wintergreen’ parent in that it grows rapidly to twenty-five feet (7.6 meters) or more, and it is a very slender tree, seldom exceeding three feet (one meter) in width at its base, even without shearing. Like its parent, it usually grows only a single trunk, and is very gravity orientated, growing straight up vertically, which assures its resistance to storm damage.

hetz winter green.jpg__PID:84c93931-ab3d-43b6-a36e-ffee5f451915
  • Wintergreen Arborvitae scientific name: Thuja occidentalis ‘Hetz’ Wintergreen’

  • The Wintergreen Arborvitae grows to a height of 15′-25′ tall.

  • The Wintergreen Arborvitae thrives in full sun to partial shade.

  • The Wintergreen Arborvitae its nice dark green color all year.