Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’ (the Techny arborvitae) is, perhaps, the most handsome of the lush, dark green arborvitaes. Unfortunately, not all of us can find the right location for a 12′-15′ (3.7-4.6 m) tall evergreen. Now, however, there is a moderate sized, naturally occurring sport of the Techny, the Technito arborvitae (officially, Thuja occidentalis ‘BailJohn’).
Selected by Michael Yanny of Johnson’s Nursery, Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, the Technito was introduced by Johnson’s Nursery and Bailey Nursery, St. Paul, Minnesota, as part of their joint breeding program to produce superior cold-hardy plants. Technito is a more dense selection than Techny, with dark green foliage extending to the ground. The Technito has a compact, pyramidal form that requires no pruning, although it may be lightly sheared every 2-3 years to maintain its essential shape.
A slow growing plant, the breeders maintain that when grown in Zone 4, a 14-year old plant will become 6′ (1.8 m) high by 4′ (1.2 m) wide at the base. At maturity, Technito may achieve an 8′ (2.4 m) height.
Technito is hardy in Zones 3-7. It has no known disease or insect pests, although it is not deer resistant. The plant needs a half day to full day of sun, average to moist soil with good drainage, and it tolerates heavy clay soils. As with all evergreens, avoid locations near roads that are salted in winter. Technito is relatively new in the trade, so if you are interested in the plant but are not sure where to find it locally, try calling or emailing Johnson’s Nursery for the name of a local distributor.