Grand Haven, Mich., October 19, 2010 – When John Houser found a tall and columnar evergreen tree growing in his nursery one day, he knew he found a winner.
Usually in the nursery business, improvements in plants are due to deliberate breeding and effort. However, once in a while, Mother Nature sends along a genetic mutation – called a “sport” – which is beneficial and superior over the parentage of the plant.
The unusual evergreen found by Houser this day was an arborvitae. A very special arborvitae, with lightning fast growth, a dense branching structure and a tall, narrow habit. Further, it maintained this useful, desirable columnar shape with minimal pruning. Because it reminded him of a soldier standing at attention, Houser named his arborvitae ‘American Pillar.’
Recently, Houser licensed Proven Winners
“American Pillar has tremendous potential in both the residential and commercial landscape market,” said Tim Wood, product development and marketing manager for Proven Winners ColorChoice. “It makes a fantastic specimen plant at retail.”
The branches of ‘American Pillar’ are approximately twice as dense as its parent, the ‘Hetz wintergreen’ cultivar of arborvitae. ‘American Pillar’ has a tight pyramidal habit, which creates visual appeal in landscape designs. It grows rapidly to 25 feet or more, remaining a very slender tree, seldom exceeding 3 feet in width at its base, even without shearing.
Its fast growth and hardiness makes it a good choice for many suburban locations, especially for creating fast-growing privacy screens.
“I’ve spent 70 years in the landscape field, but I’ve never found a sport as spectacular, or as potentially useful, as one that spontaneously appeared in my nursery a few years ago,” said Houser, who postponed his retirement at age 85 due to his enthusiasm for the market potential for the plant. “Because it grows rapidly to 20 feet or more with a very narrow base, it is especially useful for screening purposes among the large homes and small lots abounding in our cities today.
“Many swimming pool owners in particular would be delighted to have the privacy offered by ‘American Pillar.’ But any homeowner can use this arborvitae as a beautiful ‘exclamation point’ in their landscaping.”
Unlike many other plants used for privacy screens – such as hemlock and pine – ‘American Pillar’ has improved diseases resistance. With a substantial root system and narrow habit, it’s also able to withstand high winds without sustaining much damage.
Features of ‘American Pillar’ (Thuja occidentalis 'American Pillar pp# 20,209) –
• Hardy in zones 3-8 – from Texas to Alberta.
• 25-30’ tall and 3-5’ wide.
• Rich green foliage.
• Increased foliage density.
• Disease resistant. Deer resistant.
• Full sun to partial shade
• Excellent for windbreak or privacy screen.
• Provides habitat for birds.
• Use for hedging, screens, specimen, winter gardens, woodland gardens.
Proven Winners ColorChoice is the brand name of Spring Meadow Nursery, Inc., a market leader in flowering shrubs, potted liners and starter plants. Located in Grand Haven, Mich., the. Spring Meadow Nursery has over 500 varieties in their catalog, including more than 100 varieties marketed under the Proven Winners