Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire' / DeGroot's Spire arborvitae

Also known as 'Degroot's Emerald Spire' or most often seen with the incorrect spelling, 'Degroot's Spire.'

Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire' is a narrow, upright, very fastigiate form of eastern arborvitae with medium-green, twisted foliage. The outline is less smooth and symmetrical than most other upright arborvitae making it even more interesting. Foliage tends to turn to a dark mossy-green to true bronze color in midwestern U.S. winters. Typical rate of growth most areas is about 6 inches (15 cm) a year, resulting in a narrow upright tree 3 feet (1.5 m) tall by 15 inches (40 cm) wide after 10 years in the landscape. This cultivar is quite suitable as a solitary exclamation point in the garden or for use as a formal hedge.

[ Iseli Nursery Inc] This narrow columnar form of American arborvitae is unique both for its form and refined texture.

Constant DeGroot (1922-1971), longtime production and propagation manager at Sheridan Nurseries, Toronto, Ontario, Canada selected this cultivar from a batch of seedlings in 1970. Sheridan introduced it in 1980, naming it for the finder. Iseli Nurseries, Inc. of Boring, Oregon is credited with the U.S. introduction around the same time. (History based on an email conversation (10/01/14) between Larry Sherk, retired Chief Horticulturist at Sheridan Nurseries and David Olszyk, ConiferBase editor.

Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire.' This picture was taken in Michigan during the ACS tour in 2000.
Photo by Ken Church
Thuja occidentalis 'Degroot's Spire' The Harper Collection of Dwarf & Rare Conifers located at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, MI. Photo taken August of 2005.
Photo by Dax Herbst
Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire' — 10 years in the ground from a gallon-sized pot grown as a single leader which is very important to prevent splaying out in ice storms in the Indianapolis, Indiana area.
Photo by Terri Park
Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire' — a specimen in a private garden in Massachusetts. The splayed foliage is typical of specimens that have been excessively pruned at a young age, producing a denser plant, but also creating multiple, weaker leaders.
Photo by Debra LaChance


Jay Park

I have had multiple errors attempting to upload 3 different photos of DeGroot's Spire of size ranging from 6679-8862 KB, so I don't think the size is too great. However I was successful uploading Pseudotsuga men. Glauca Pendula photo. Not sure what the issue is because they seem to be uploading, then I get the error at the end of the upload.

[Deleted User]

Terri, there may very well be a single-quote in the file name. The system doesn’t like that. Edit the file name and try again.

Jay Park

Yep, computers hate apostrophies in the jpeg title. However, I uploaded two photos with comments and now I'm only seeing the last one. Maybe it's still there in your secret stash? Thanks, Terri

[Deleted User]

I'm seeing three pictures that you've uploaded. Once you're done uploading and go back to the record page, always hit <refresh> and you'll see all the changes take place.

Jay Park

Thanks for the uploading tips, David. I'll get over the learning curve bumps after a few entries. My comments on the winter color: This is about the only conifer that I have several of scattered all over 3 acres, and have for 15 years. It has NEVER turned bronze in my Indianapolis area garden. It deepens to a dark moss green as most conifers seem to go a couple shades darker in the winter compared to their fresher, brighter summer color. And we get some pretty cold weather without benefit of snow to insulate on a typical winter. Winter of 2014 was particularly snowy, but VERY windy and I believe the snow reflection and wind caused most of the plant damage. The actual temperatures were not that severe, as we were down to -37 in 1995 and in the '80's we had -20 a few times. But that was before we started collecting conifers and rare deciduous trees.

Paula Scott

Hello thank you for sending pictures I am so up and down on this they are just get the colours its hard to decided all get back are they all hardy trees thank you Paula Scott

Web Editor

Submitted by ACS member Debra LaChance: I had a DeGroot Spire professionally planted in mid April in Massachusetts.

Several ( 6 or more ) leaders were tied tightly together with nylon rope. Doing this created the “spire” and when I cut it it separated out. I was under the impression that DeGroots was a narrow tree with a central leader and branches that were stiffer than an emerald green arborvitae and with a somewhat twisted effect. I’ve seen them at a couple of local and reputable garden centers. Additionally the tree seems to have an armored scale and possibly mildew issue.

Very disappointed, can anyone weigh in on whether this is a DeGroots or not?
Thank you