Best Soil For Arborvitae – A Guide With The Best Tips and Hacks For Avid Gardeners

Last Updated on October 9, 2022

Learn about the best soil for arborvitae in this informative blog post. Find out about the right nutrients, water, and sunlight needed to grow arborvitae. We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of growing arborvitae and have added links and videos to help you grow your plant successfully.

The Arborvitae is the most popular deciduous tree in North America and a common feature in parks and landscapes throughout the world. To grow healthy arborvitae, you need to know some basic aspects of the soil, including its pH, nutrient content, moisture content, and the type of light it requires.

Soil plays an important role in the growth of plants, and having the best soil for arborvitae is important to grow them healthily. Different types of soil have different nutrients for trees; therefore, you need to choose the right one. If you want to grow Arborvitae, here are the best types of soil for it to grow well.

What is Arborvitae?

Arborvitae (aka Scotch Pine) is a tree that is native to the U.S. and parts of Mexico. This tree grows about 10”-25” tall and can live for up to 200 years. This tree is also known as the Japanese Stone Pine because it was first cultivated in Japan. The name comes from a combination of the word arbor, (Latin for tree) and vitae, meaning life.

Arborvitae is a very fast-growing tree. It grows quickly and reaches a height of 50” in about 3 years. It is a hardy tree, requiring lesser water than most trees, even in extremely dry conditions. When it starts growing, it boasts a dark green color on its lower trunk, which turns a light yellow as it grows, finally becoming light grey when it reaches its full stance.

This tree is also a rot-resistant, drought-tolerant, and insect-resistant tree.  It can also withstand heavy winds and icy cold weather for long periods. Although it can grow beautifully in a wide range of climates, having the best soil for arborvitae is vital.

This will ensure that it has the right amount of nutrients to reach its full potential. Aside from that, arborvitae is also a beautiful addition to your garden or landscape with lots of other advantages. 

Read more about Best Soil For Pine Trees In Containers – A Gardeners Guide To Growing Indoor Conifers

What is The Best Soil For Arborvitae? 

What is the best soil for arborvitae? This is a question that every homeowner and gardener wants answers to. You need to know what type of soil you are planting into to get the best results with your tree. Also, you have to make sure it is the correct soil for your specific climate.

Although these trees fair pretty well in most soils, having the best soil for arborvitae will eliminate any issues with their growth. It will ensure that the tree is receiving a sufficient amount of nutrients for it to thrive at its best. 

I have found that the best soil for arborvitae is a mixture of 2 parts of topsoil (a mix of composted manure and topsoil) with 1 part bark or pine bark mulch. Add gravel if necessary to help stabilize its roots. You can also add 3 to 4 inches of sawdust to improve drainage. Soil with a pH of 7 or higher, which measures acidity and alkalinity, is great for arborvitae.

It is not a good idea to plant arborvitae in soil that is too rich if you have a warmer climate because it causes the roots to grow out of control and become weak. Therefore, using soil that is on the dryer side, such as sand or gravel, will be ideal for growing arborvitae in warmer conditions.

Learn more about Best Soil For Indoor Palms – A Gardeners Guide To Enhancing The Growth Of The Most Popular House Plant

 What is the best soil amendment for arborvitae

How To Plant and Maintain Arborvitae?

Many people have had great results in planting arborvitae. If your area is prone to a cold climate, the best soil for arborvitae should have ample organic matter with lots of compost. This will ensure that the roots grow well. If the soil has a lot of clay in it, add some sand and loam to even it out and to help with drainage.

Follow these easy steps to plant your arborvitae successfully:

Step 1: Grow it in a container

Start growing your tree in a container indoors for about 6 weeks before transplanting them outdoors. This will help them develop strong roots before going into the ground.

Step 2: Take it outside before planting

Just before the tree is ready for planting, it needs to be taken outside so that it can develop its first photosynthesis in the sun. This will cause the roots to be stimulated and develop at a steady pace. This is when you will finally see the roots pushing out of the drainage holes.

Step 3: Plant

Place the tree in a hole that is just slightly larger than the root ball. Don’t use a deep hole because the roots will dry out. At this stage, you want the roots to be wet but not soggy. A shallow hole will give the roots a chance to develop and form a stronghold on the ground.

Step 4: Water

Thereafter, you will need to fill the hole with the best soil for arborvitae and then water thoroughly to settle the roots. 

3 PCS Hand-Blown Glass Self Watering Globes

Step 5: Monitor

For the best maintenance to aid your plant in growing, monitor it carefully and make sure that the soil is draining well. Seeing that arborvitae is fast-growing, with the proper soil, water drainage, sunlight, and maintenance, you should see results in no time.

What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Growing Arborvitae?

There are lots of advantages to planting arborvitae as they are not like other trees. While other trees require a minimum of 2 years of growth before they can make strong wood, arborvitae does not require that length of time to grow. 

They are so efficient in their ability to use water and light, that they can produce much more wood than many other trees. They also can be grown in areas where other trees cannot survive, which is an advantage. However, also they have numerous advantages, and there are also a few disadvantages that you should take note of.

Listed below are the pros and cons of growing arborvitae:


  • They are hardy trees that can survive in dry climates
  • They grow quickly and can reach 20 feet tall
  • They look great when planted in large groups 
  • They can tolerate poor soil and are drought resistant
  • They are low maintenance and require minimal care
  • They have a dense coniferous growth pattern and do not take up much space
  • They add a stunning aura to any garden
  • They are perfect for children’s gardens


  • They don’t provide a lot of shade because of their denseness
  • They are expensive
  • It grows best in full sunlight
  • Their roots are quite thick when fully grown, so you must make sure they are planted in an ideal spot in your yard.


Soil can make or break a tree; therefore, having the best soil for arborvitae is essential. Good soil will ensure that your tree maintains good health and grows to its full potential. Soil is where your tree will be permanently housed; therefore, you should always use one that has ample organic matter and sufficient nutrients.

When you are creating your garden, it’s important to keep in mind that your soil needs to be healthy for your plants. Your plants need good soil so they can grow well. Salty soils can flaw the growth and development of your arborvitae, so always test your soil for that.

Additionally, it is not only about having the best soil for arborvitae that will help your tree to thrive. Making sure that your tree has enough space to grow is also a vital aspect.


What is the best soil amendment for arborvitae?

Calcium is important for proper tree health, but a soil amendment or fertilizer that is low in nitrates and high in phosphorus is best for arborvitae. Additionally, composted manure or wood ashes are also good as they contain no toxic chemicals.

What soil pH is best for arborvitae?

The best soil pH for arborvitae is 7 and above as they thrive on higher alkalinity and acidity depending on the climate.

How do you encourage arborvitae to grow?

To encourage arborvitae to grow add organic matter to the soil, such as peat moss or manure. Water trees in dry areas as this will allow them to survive periods of drought and continue growing. It is also good to mulch the roots of your trees with grass clippings to aid in growth.

Is peat moss good for arborvitaes?

Yes, peat moss is good for arborvitaes especially if they are growing in soil that is low in nutrients. Peat moss is very rich in humus and is a natural resource for plant nutrition.

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