When plant breeder John Houser of Georgia discovered an unusual branch mutation on an arborvitae on his property, he realized he had found his 'one in a million shot'. This mutation was an ultra fast growing branch sport with a dense, narrow growth habit. John was so convinced of the stupendous potential of his discovery that he postponed his retirement at age 85, to start up a nursery based on it! He had his new 'baby' patented in 2009 as 'American Pillar', and since then it has steadily been convincing many others in the industry. Spring Meadow Nursery, a sizeable wholesale grower in MI, has recently devoted an extra 9 acres of greenhouse space to this one special variety!
So what makes this shrub so special? Full Speed a Hedge (American Pillar) is slightly hardier than Emerald Green and Green Giant (the most common hedging cedars) but what really sells it is the phenomenally fast growth. At a rate of 1m (3-4') per year, you can watch your living privacy screen become reality at a gratifying pace. In 5 years or so, it should potentially be close to the mature size of 4.5 - 6 m (15-20') tall and 90-150 cm (3-5') wide.
At the suggested spacing of 75cm (30"), 1 tray of 8 plants will buy you 6m (20') of all season privacy. You can even cut the spacing to 60 cm (24") if you desire a tight hedge sooner. (Thuja occidentalis 'American Pillar')