Narrow Upright Evergreens and Flowering Shrubs

The Leaning Tower of Arborvitae.  I know better! When I lived in Upstate NY I always tied up my ‘Emerald Green’ Arborvitae with jute twine in late fall to prevent heavy show or freezing rain from damaging them. But when I moved to Maine, I let my guard down. Bad idea.  This is what I saw a few days after a storm dropped 6” of heavy snow in early December (photo right). I had been so excited when the snow first started falling – dreaming of how wonderful the downhill skiing would be at Sunday River. Then my mood quickly changed the next afternoon when I walked around the side of our condominium and saw this.

But by that evening I was already eagerly considering other plants to put in its place!  If I decide to go with another narrow evergreen (there is not a lot of space between my porch and nearby Japanese maples and Oakleaf Hydrangea), I will use a variety that has a strong, single leader, versus multiple leaders (tips) like ‘Emerald Green’ that can easily splay apart with snow load. This narrow, single leader evergreen will also have a more flexible branch habit that can bend (not snap) under snow load and then pop back after the weight is gone. These characteristics will not require the time-consuming twining that I’ve done in the past.

Some options I am considering are Arborvitae (Thuja) ‘North Pole’‘American Pillar’ and ‘Degroot’s Spire’; and Juniper v. ‘Taylor’ (native) and s. ‘Blue Arrow’ (native, pictured). Some deciduous trees and shrubs on my list are Japanese maple ‘Twombly’s Red Sentinel’, ‘Orange Pillar’ Barberry (I used to grow this in Upstate NY before it was on the invasive list. Hopefully a sterile variety will become available), Amelanchier ‘Standing Ovation’ (native), and Rose of Sharon ‘Red Pillar’ (I have ‘White Pillar’, which I love).