Polar Gold Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'SMTOYB'

Polar Gold Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'SMTOYB'


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


If you are looking to add a tall-growing and narrow, evergreen shrub to your landscape that is hardy and fills a variety of needs, then look no further than Polar Gold® Arborvitae. Although its official cultivar name is ‘SMTOYB’, you are more likely to locate it under its tradename of Polar Gold®. With its cheery golden foliage, it certainly lives up to its name and is sure to add a blast of color to any landscape. This conifer with a pyramidal form grows to around 15 feet tall at maturity and with a mature width of around 4 to 6 feet.

  • Thrives in the coldest climates
  • Evergreen with year-round color of yellow foliage tips
  • Space-saving narrow width
  • Suitable as a hedge, screen or container plant
  • Low-maintenance and easy to grow

Polar Gold® Arborvitae has a compact and upright habit, forming into a dense pyramid shape and growing to maturity at a moderate rate of speed. The fragrant and finely textured foliage takes on a bright golden coloration, as new growth emerges, changing to green the following year. When other trees and shrubs have dropped their foliage in winter, Polar Gold® Arborvitae continues to bring color to an otherwise dull and dreary landscape. This long-lived, native conifer shrub is the perfect selection for those who desire eye-catching greenery that does not require a large amount of space to grow properly.

Plant Hardiness Zones 3-7
Mature Width 4-6
Mature Height 12-15
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 3-7

Gardeners living in the coldest areas of USDA planting zone 3 won’t have any winter problems with the addition of a Polar Gold® Arborvitae to their landscape. These shrubs take the cold temperatures like a champ, without suffering damage or winter wind burns. They are hardy in winter lows reaching down to -30°F. They thrive in climates that are milder and are hardy to USDA planting zone 7, not performing well in environments that are warmer than this. During the coldest winters, you can add a layer of mulch around the root system to help insulate it and keep it warm.

Growing Polar Gold® Arborvitae

One of the benefits of growing Polar Gold® Arborvitae is its low-maintenance requirements, when grown in proper conditions, which includes pruning. Pruning the shrub is not necessary, as its natural compact and pyramidal shape is quite elegant. However, if you do decide to do some shaping, it is best to wait to prune after the new growth emerges in late spring to early summer. When doing any pruning do not remove large branches as it will leave a hole in the shrub and it might never recover from the cut. In addition, and so you do not transfer any disease or pests to your Arborvitae, always sterilize your pruning tool blades before using them to make cuts. Just wipe them off with rubbing alcohol and you’ll be ready to start trimming.

Another attribute to growing Polar Gold® Arborvitae is it does not have any serious diseases or pests, when its required growing conditions are met. In springtime, feed it with a slow-release fertilizer specific to trees and it will maintain healthy growth and thrive. If you are someone who doesn’t like to spend hours in the garden maintaining fussy plants, then Polar Gold® is the spot-on choice for you.

Uses on Your Property

Polar Gold® Arborvitae has multiple uses within the landscape and even performs well planted in large, outdoor containers. However, if you do plan to grow it in a pot, just make sure the container is large enough for the root system to grow properly and there is drain holes in the bottom to prevent problems with root rot.

One of the benefits of its narrow growth is that it’s the perfect choice for a living fence in smaller yards without overpowering the area due to size. Its dense habit of growth makes it suitable used as a privacy or screening shrub. In addition, with its year-round evergreen color and golden leaf tips, it is the ideal choice for a fall or winter garden where it gives the area a blast of color.

The conifer also is ideal used along borders or lining a walkway or driveway. In addition, Polar Gold® Arborvitae used in a mixed garden with plants having different forms, adds additional texture to the area. They also make outstanding and eye-catching specimens whether used singly or planted in groups. Their uses in the garden are almost endless.

Planting Location

When selecting a permanent planting site, always consider the conifer’s mature height and width. If planting multiple shrubs, make sure to allow proper spacing between them and do not overcrowd. Planting too close prevents the proper circulation of air, which leads to problems with disease. Polar Gold® Arborvitae thrives in a site located in full to partial sun. However, in the warmest areas of its growing zones it will appreciate a bit of light shade during the hot afternoon hours. You do not want to plant it in a primarily shady location or the shrub will not thrive or develop its dense growth. In addition, select a location that doesn’t receive drying winds, especially while the Arborvitae is young and establishing itself in the landscape.

It tolerates a wide range of soils that drain well, but will perform the best planted in soils that are organically rich, well-drained and kept moist through regular water applications. You can amend the planting site with well-rotted manure or compost before planting. Always water deeply and during the first year of growth and especially if conditions are hot and dry, you will probably have to water twice weekly. Polar Gold® performs best in moist soils that drain well.

History and Origins of Polar Gold® Arborvitae

Polar Gold® is a cultivar of its parent Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, commonly called American Arborvitae or Eastern White Cedar, although it isn’t a cedar. Polar Gold® is protected under the Plant Patent Act so asexual reproduction of the shrub is prohibited during the life of the patent. When purchasing one of our Polar Gold® Arborvitae you can rest assured it has been raised in a nursery environment and given the absolute best of care, which ensures you receive a healthy plant that will thrive in your landscape for years to come.

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Polar Gold Arborvitae

Thuja occidentalis 'SMTOYB'