Five Tips for Growing Thuja Green Giant

When it comes to fast-growing evergreens, we all know that Thuja Green Giant is right at the top of the list. But even the best of us can use a little help, and your plants are no exception to that. If you are planting Green Giant for a clipped hedge, a taller screen, or as a beautiful specimen tree, here are some tips on where to put your energies most effectively, to give you the fastest, strongest and healthiest growth from this plant.

5 Tips for Growing Thuja Green Giant:

  • Prepare the soil well – give your plants a great start in life
  • Keep up the water – especially at first
  • Fertilize regularly – we all need a healthy meal
  • Start trimming right away – build a sturdy, dense structure
  • Go for the right shape – a good profile is always best

Prepare the Soil Well

Strong roots mean strong growth, and for your trees to make the strongest root system, they need good soil to grow into. Thuja Green Giant is a tough plant, but if you prepare the area well, and break up the soil deeply, across a wide area, then the result will amaze you. You can easily prepare the area for one plant by digging with a spade, but for all but the shortest hedge, a powerful rototiller is the way to go. Rent the biggest one you can handle, and make sure you go down deep. It is easy to skim across the surface and it will look great, but your trees need broken-up soil underneath them. If you can break up the soil 12 inches down, that is ideal. Prepare an area at least 3 feet wide when planting a hedge.

No matter what kind of soil you have, adding organic material always improves it. Sandy soils will dry out more slowly, and have more nutrients, while clay soils will drain better and allow more vital oxygen down to the roots. Use something rich – like well-rotted sheep, cow or horse manure – if you can get it, otherwise garden compost, rotted leaves, or peat moss will be great too. A layer 3 inches deep all across the area you are preparing is about the right amount.

Keep up the Water

More plants die or suffer badly from lack of water when newly-planted than for any other reason. Start out by watering the plants in their pots the night before you are planting. If the area you are planting into is dry, then water it well a day or two before you plant. When planting, put back about two-thirds of the soil and firm it down around the roots – use your feet for this job. Then fill the hole to the top with water, and let it drain away before you replace the rest. Unless the soil is dry, you don’t really need to water again – the watering you did down into the hole will make sure those root-balls have plenty to get them started.

Immediately after planting the roots haven’t spread into the surrounding soil, and they rely on the soil in the root ball. For the first few weeks, water by letting a hose-pipe trickle water slowly down close to the stem, or use a gentle spray nozzle to soak the area right around the plant. Trees can die of drought surrounded by damp soil, especially if they are planted too loosely, meaning the root-ball is not firmly connected to the surrounding soil. Water every day in hot weather for the first two weeks, or every second day in cooler weather, or if you have heavy soil. Then taper down to a once-a-week soaking during that vital first year of growth. After that you will only need to water when the top few inches appears dry.

Fertilize Regularly

Use a fertilizer blended for evergreen hedges. It will have a big ‘first number’ in the fertilizer formula. Always follow the directions, as too much, or too often, can be even worse than nothing. At first a water-soluble fertilizer that you mix in a can, or apply with a hose-end dilutor is best, because the nutrients are quickly available to plants with a limited root system. These must be applied regularly, at low doses, so to reduce the work involved, switch to a granular fertilizer after the first season. Although they are more expensive, if you have a busy life you will probably find slow-release fertilizers a worthwhile investment. They only need one application a year, and release their food steadily over the whole growing-season.

Start Trimming Right Away

Don’t wait for your plants to reach the final height you are planning – this is the commonest mistake in growing a hedge. For a solid, dense hedge, you need a well-branched internal structure, and the way to develop that is by trimming early. You only need to take the tips off the new shoots, just an inch or two. Do this regularly, and your plants will respond by branching much more, and developing a strurdy structure. You can also begin to create the right profile, which is the last tip we have for the best hedge you can grow.

Go for the Right Shape

Older hedges that are thin and dying at the base at common, but that is exactly the area most seen, and most important for privacy too. The mistake is always the same, letting the top grow too wide, and even deliberately trimming the bottom into a rounded shape, undercutting the upper part. The right way to do it is to keep the bottom wider than the top, starting at ground level. The sides should slope in a little, not go straight up, or worse, widen out. It is easy to make this mistake, because the top will always grow the fastest, so if you trim off an even amount, the upper part will naturally end up wider. Take more from the top than the bottom, and let light penetrate right down, so that the lower branches remain healthy and green, giving you screening right to the ground.

 

With these few simple tips, you can be sure that your Thuja Green Giant hedge or specimens look great, and grow as fast as they can, giving you the perfect finished effect.

Planning Your Thuja Green Giant Hedge

Ah, so you have decided to put in a hedge or screen of Thuja Green Giant. Good choice! Not only is this the fastest-growing evergreen available, it is also one of the most adaptable to climate and soil. It is hardy to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will grow happily in zone 5. If you live in colder zones, then a better choice is the Emerald Green Arborvitae, which grows well in chilly zones 3 and 4 – it’s not too late to change your choice!

Besides being cold-resistant, Thuja Green Giant also thrives in heat, and in addition it is both humidity and drought resistant. Wherever you live, from the humid South to the drier Mid-West and Texas, this tough plant will grow through all the warmer zones, including zone 9. That means that unless you live in the southern part of Florida, or around San Diego, California, you can relax. Your Green Giant Hedge is going to grow vigorously and well, wherever you live.

As for soil, it really doesn’t matter much at all. You have sandy soil? Fine. Clay soil? No problem. Something in-between? Nothing to worry about at all. Even if your soil is often wet, that won’t matter either. The only limitation is constantly wet and flooded soil, which does not suit Thuja Green Giant. One idea if you have a wet area, is to build a ridge of soil about 3 feet wide, with a ditch on either side. If you plant along the top of the ridge, the extra drainage you have created will often make it possible to grow this very forgiving plant even in a wet location.

How Many Thuja Green Giant for a Hedge?

So now, having made the right choice, the first question is, “How many plants do I need?” Answering this question is easy – just follow these steps:

  • Measure the Distance – first you need to measure the area you want to run the hedge along. Do this carefully with a tape, as you want to get it right.
  • Decide the Spacing – don’t make the mistake of planting too close. Plan to space at 3 feet apart for a quick-filling hedge, or up to 5 feet if you have a little more patience, or want to save on the number of plants.
  • Double or Single Row? – if you have room, and want a really dense hedge or screen, then a staggered double row is the right choice. It doesn’t take many extra plants, as they are spaced more widely in the rows. For the equivalent of a 3-foot single row, space the double rows 2 feet apart and the plants 5 ½ feet apart in the rows. For the equivalent of a 5-foot spacing, plan on putting the rows 3 feet apart, and the plants 8 feet apart.
  • Divide the Distance by the Spacing You Chose – do this division, double that result for a double row, and you have your answer. If it contains a fraction, just go up or down to the nearest number.

What Else Do You Need?

To improve the soil, you will need some organic material. Garden compost or animal manures are best, but well-rotted leaves are good too, and peat moss is fine if that is what you have. You need the length of your hedge as cubic feet or material. That means for a 30-foot hedge you need 30 cubic feet of compost. Some extra never hurts.

You also need some mulching material, such as shredded bark, to cover the soil when you are finished planting your trees. You need the same amount as the amount of organic material needed for digging into the soil. You might also use some fertilizer for evergreens as well, especially if you have sandy soil, but adding organic material is always better than relying on fertilizer alone.

For preparing the soil, a spade is good if you are strong and fit, and the hedge is not too long. Otherwise book a rental on the biggest rototiller they have. A big tiller will make the job easy, and also dig deep, which is important. You can easily do a long strip in a one-day rental.

A length of porous irrigation pipe twice the length of your hedge is an excellent addition too, as it will make watering so much easier. Maybe you need a length of regular hose to connect the porous pipe to the nearest tap as well.

Oh, one final thing. You will need a length of sturdy string to run down the hedge to get all the plants straight, and you will also need that tape you used to measure the length for your hedge and calculate how many plants you needed.

Now You are Ready to Go

It’s time now to order your plants, find out when they should arrive, and mark down a day or two to plant your hedge. You won’t need any stakes – Thuja Green Giant is too tough to need anything like that. Be prepared to water once or twice a week during the first season, and after that you can sit back and watch your hedge grow. Remember to start trimming while the hedge is still young and developing – don’t wait until it reaches the final height you want it to be. This final tip is the secret to the densest and sturdiest hedge you have ever seen.

Does Thuja Green Giant Attract Pests or Diseases?

The short answer to this question is ‘NO’, but despite the toughness and resistance of this great evergreen, problems can very occasionally develop, some caused by growing conditions and some by specific pests or diseases. Don’t worry, these problems are rare, and most gardeners never see any problems at all with their plants. So that you can be equipped to deal with anything that may seem to be going wrong, it’s time for some advice. So here are some things you may see, and what to do about them.

My new plants look dull and the ends of some of the branches are turning brown

New plants of Thuja Green Giant need plenty of water. When they are first planted they only have roots in the root ball from the pot. Especially if the surrounding soil is a bit dry, those roots won’t be able to take up water and this will first show by the ends of the branches bending over and beginning to turn brown. If the weather is warm you may need to water your plants every second day for the first few weeks after planting. Otherwise water them at least once a week. New plants need plenty of water to establish in your garden, so don’t forget them – they need you!

My plants look yellowish, not bright green, and they aren’t growing

Especially when young, these fast-growing plants need lots of nutrients. They don’t have a big root system yet to get enough from the soil around them. So they can easily run low on essential food elements, grow more slowly and show a characteristic yellowing of the leaves. If you see this, it is time to start fertilizing your plants. For young plants choose a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for evergreen hedges and apply as directed. If your plants are older, then a granular fertilizer will be lower-cost and quicker to apply. Modern slow-release fertilizers cost a little more, but they only need to be applied once a year and they will continue to feed your hedge all season long.

There are strange-looking clusters of dry needles hanging in the tree

These could be bagworms. This is a common pest of some arborvitae trees, and it is occasionally found in Thuja Green Giant. Since this tree is so tough and hardy, they are only very rarely attacked by this insect. If you see what look a bit like hanging greenish or brown ‘cones’ one or two inches long on your plants, then you have bagworms. Inside there is a green caterpillar that will eat the leaves, and can make parts of the bush very bare. If you just have a few, or your plants are young, then simply pick them off and throw them into a bucket of hot, soapy water. The caterpillar makes the bag out of silk and pieces of the plant it has chewed off. Once you remove the bags your trees will quickly grow back. If you have larger bushes, or a lot of bags, then spraying with Bt (pronounced ‘bee-tee’) or Spinosad. Ask at your local garden center for specific brands of these safe, non-toxic sprays made from naturally occurring microbes. These products only kill caterpillars and they will not hurt other insects, animals or humans. Since bagworms usually don’t attack Thuja Green Giant at all, you will probably never see this pest on your hedge.

I have something sticky on my leaves, and black powder on them too

Again, this is a very rare problem, but it can happen. The stickiness comes from sap being taken from the plant by scale insects. The black (or occasionally white) growth is fungus growing on the sugary sap. Neither the sap or the fungus will hurt your plants, but the little scale insects, that look like brown pimples on the stems, do weaken the trees and can cause browning. Luckily Thuja Green Giant grows so fast and so vigorously that scale is rarely a problem. If you see areas like this, usually you can trim them away, clean up carefully, feed and water your trees and they will quickly recover. Only very rarely, perhaps if your trees are growing in poor, dry soil, will scale be bad enough to need spraying. Ask at your garden center for something suitable.

Poor growth, and branches are dying

Although your trees need water, they can have too much of a good thing. If the soil is constantly wet no air gets to the roots, and they die and rot. If your plants are not growing, well, and parts of them turn brown and die, or if a whole plant in your hedge dies, you may have root rot. Once the symptoms show it is hard to do anything, so first make sure you plant in an area with good drainage. If you need to plant in a badly-drained spot, then mound up the soil and plant on that mound. If the plants are a few inches above the soil the roots will get more air. If you have an irrigation system, check that you don’t have a leak, or reduce the watering time. Your plants should get plenty of water, but the soil should become a little dry in between each watering.

In the End

Thuja Green Giant is one the most pest and disease resistant plants you can grow, so if you give them a little basic care with water and fertilizer the chances are very good you will never see any problems at all. Now that you know what to look for, you can take some simple steps to deal with any rare problems that might come along.

Where Did Thuja Green Giant Come From?

Thuja Green Giant is the most popular and widely-grown hedging plant off all time. Millions of satisfied gardeners enjoy the benefits of its rapid growth and easy care. Most people take plants for granted, thinking they just ‘are’, but perhaps you have wondered, “Where did this plant come from? Does it grow somewhere in the wild? Did some scientists or nursery-person create it? Is there a connection between its origin and how fast-growing and sturdy it is?” Let’s see if we can answer these questions.

First of all, Thuja Green Giant is not a wild plant – it is the product of gardening itself, which has brought into being thousands and thousands of plants for us to eat and enjoy. Selecting certain plants for their special features is as old as agriculture. If we could only put on our tables plants that can be found growing wild, then we would have to ignore almost every fruit and vegetable we eat. There are plenty of ornamental plants growing in our gardens that can be found growing wild somewhere in the world, but many more that have been created for our enjoyment. Thuja Green Giant is such a plant, with a long and complex history.

The Origins of Thuja Green Giant

About 150 years ago, in 1878, a gardener and amateur botanist called Dorus Poulsen started a nursery to grow and sell plants, in Frijsenborg, Denmark. It soon became famous and very well-regarded, especially for its roses, which Dorus bred himself. He opened several branches across Denmark, and when he died in 1925 his sons continued the business, producing many new plants from their breeding programs. In 1937 they noted a novel Thuja growing, but it is not clear if this was an accidental seedling, or part of some breeding they had done.

History stepped in, World War II broke out, and Europe had more important things to think about than plants. After the war the nursery returned to normal activity, and eventually, in 1967, thirty years after that first chance discovery, the National Arboretum in Washington D.C. received a package of plants from one of the Poulsen nursery branches, in Kvistgaard, Denmark. Included in the shipment were several different Thuja plants, which the Arboretum staff planted out in a nursery area at the arboretum. The speed of growth on one of them was noticed, and that plant started to get some excited reactions when it reached 30 feet tall in 25 years.

When the staff looked back through their records, they quickly found that the book-keeping had been less than perfect. The plant numbering had become confused, and they could not figure out which Danish plant ths was. Suspecting the plant was a hybrid, something that had never been seen before among Thuja plants, three scientists became interested, and with the recent development of DNA analysis, they saw a way to solve the mystery. These three scientists, Susan Martin, from the National Arboretum; Robert Marquard, from the Holden Arboretum in Ohio; and Kim Trip, from the New York Botanic Garden got to work, and succeeded in analyzing the DNA all the plants at the Arboretum, and comparing it to that of the parents of those 1967 plants from Denmark.

A Hybrid Child

The scientists were able to link this mystery giant Thuja to the plant found in 1937 at the Poulsen nursery, and showed that it was indeed a hybrid between two species of Thuja. One parent was the Western Redcedar, Thuja plicata. This forest giant can reach 200 feet in height, and grows wild in Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. It is the source of the lumber called red cedar, which is ideal for garden construction and furniture, since it is naturally resistant to decay and needs no paint or preservatives.

The second parent was the Japanese Arborvitae, Thuja standishii. This plant grows wild high in the mountains of the Japanese Islands of Honshu and Shikoku. It is also cultivated in Japan for its wood, which is aromatic and waterproof, and is used for sake cups and barrels.

Just what had happened in that nursery in Denmark in the 1930s is not clear, but somehow a trans-pacific hybrid had been created, a plant that had beautiful foliage all year round, grew vigorously and very quickly, and was graceful, upright and worthy of a place in every garden. Botanist already new that crossing together two different species of plants produced what they call ‘hybrid vigor’ – strength, hardiness, speed of growth and resistant to pests that neither parent has. Thuja Green Giant had hybrid vigor in spades.

Thuja Green Giant Takes Off

A nurseryman from Tennessee called Don Shadow was the person who suggested the name ‘Green Giant’, and a major US nursery group called Wayland Gardens decided to multiply and promote this plant to home gardeners. They propagated thousands of young plants of Thuja Green Giant from that original plant, and began a program to describe its benefits to gardeners. This great evergreen lived up to everything promised of it, and by 2004 it was the top-selling plant at Wayland Gardens. Other growers picked it up, and since there was no plant patent on it, everyone could freely reproduce it. In the south-east, many gardens had old hedges planted in the 50s and 60s, which were diseased and needed replacing. So the timing was perfect for the introduction of a new hedging evergreen. Millions of plants were sold to replace those old hedges, and Thuja Green Giant, the child of two trees from different continents, who met on a third, became the most popular and successful hedge plant in America.

Maximize the Growth of your Thuja Green Giant Hedge

Thuja Green Giant has become the most popular choice for evergreen hedges across most of the county. Everyone is using this fast-growing tree to build beautiful hedges for privacy and as the perfect background for their gardens. This plant so popular because of its fast growth rate, and such a tough plant will thrive and grow well in lots of different situations. It is a living thing, though, and it performs best with a little help from us. Here are some simple tips will make sure that your Thuja Green Giant Hedge grows at its fastest rate, soon maturing into the perfect hedge you are looking for.

Preparing the Soil for Thuja Green Giant

Making sure your plants have everything they need when you plant them is the first place to start. Once you have decided where your hedge is to run, prepare the ground by digging it as deeply as you can. For a smaller area you can hand-dig to the depth of a full-sized spade. For longer distances using a rototiller is a good idea, and will make the job so much easier to do. The bigger the machine the better, and it is easy to rent a full-sized professional machine for a day, and do a great job. You also want to have some organic material to add to the soil. This can be almost anything, from garden compost to peat moss, but the richer the material the better. Spread several inches of organic material over the area for the hedge, to a width of three feet. If the area is already lawn, cut it short and dig or till the grass into the soil. It will rot and add nutrients for your hedge. If it is rough ground, go over it first with a spade and dig up any large weeds, removing the roots as much as you can.

The secret with rototilling is to take your time. Go over the ground as slowly as possible, using the lowest speed for the machine, and allowing it to dig itself into the ground and move forward slowly. Till the area two or even three times, until the tiller is as deep as it can go. Till a strip three feet wide, and when you are done, rake it level, removing any weeds.

Planting Thuja Green Giant

The temptation to pack your plants very close together is understandable, but a big mistake. You need to allow enough room for the plants to develop, and spread sideways to make what will become the bottom of your hedge. If you pack them close together there is a danger that in a few years the lower part will become thin and open, so you never build a thick, strong hedge right to the ground. The minimum spacing should be 3 feet apart – Thuja Green Giant is so quick growing that it will very soon fill that gap. For a tall hedge or a natural screen you can even go wider, 4 or 5 feet, and for a very dense screen a double row, with the plants staggered, is even better.

At planting time, water the pots thoroughly the night before, because you never want to plant dry root balls. If there are roots circling around inside the wall of the pot, cut through them in a couple of places to encourage the roots to spread out and find that rich organic material you added. Don’t wait to water your plants until after you have put back all the soil.  Do it when about two-thirds of the soil has gone back. Then add the final layer of soil. That way you have made sure the water is well down in the planting hole, and not just on the surface.

Water and Fertilizer for Thuja Green Giant

To get the best start with your hedge, a regular watering and fertilizing program is important. In the first growing season, water your plants once a week, and twice a week during hot weather. Running a trickle hose along the row and connecting it to a tap is the easiest way to really soak your hedge without taking up much of your valuable time. For the quickest growth in that first season, water-soluble fertilizer gives the best results. This soaks right down into the root zone, and it is quickly absorbed and used by the trees. Look for a blend made for evergreen hedges and follow the directions. Normally these kinds of fertilizers are used every two to four weeks. Make sure you follow the dilution directions carefully, as too much is not a good thing. If you have planted a large hedge, a hose attachment for putting down the fertilizer will save you a lot of time.

Once your hedge is established, switch to a granular fertilizer program. These are usually applied in early spring and again in mid-summer, but some modern types are slow-release and only need one application a year. Alternatively, you can continue with water-soluble feeding during the second year as well, which should give you a slightly better growth rate. After that granular fertilizer work just fine and save time too. Continue to water during dry-spells, as a good water supply is needed for maximum growth, but allow some drying of the soil between each watering. Water thoroughly at intervals, rather than small amounts all the time. Don’t let the soil around the roots dry out completely, especially during the early years. Established plants are very drought-resistant, but they won’t be growing when the soil is dry – just staying alive.

Even though Thuja Green Giant is a naturally fast-growing plant, a little care will give you the quickest and best results possible. Like raising children, care in the early years makes for strength and health in the later ones.

The Right Soil for Thuja Green Giant

Your soil is the foundation of your garden, and the support for everything that grows in it. This means that no matter what you plant, considering your soil is always going to be step one. Thuja Green Giant is often among the first plants bought for the garden, since hedges and screens made from fast-growing plants are the first step in building privacy, protection and a sheltered environment for more demanding plants. Fortunately, Thuja Green Giant is a plant that is very tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, so most gardens can accommodate it without problems developing. Even so, since this is vital information for all your later plant choices, this early stage is a good moment to check out your soil and collect some basic information.

Find Out Your Soil Type

There are two important aspects to soil that you need to know, and both are easy to find out. The first one is your soil texture. This is how fine or coarse the particles in your soil are, and it is what is meant when we talk about sandy or clay soils. There is a simple way, with no tools required, to find the texture of your soil, and it is one of the first things to do when you start working with your garden. First, scoop up some soil from a few spots in your garden, and mix it together. Then take a couple of teaspoons of that soil, and place it in the palm of your hand. Add a few drops of water, and mix until the soil stick together and feels like Play Doh.

Now make a ball and squeeze it in your hand. When you open your hand, is it still in a tight ball? If not, and it is falling apart, then your soil is Sandy Soil. Now squeeze and push the ball of soil out of your palm over your first finger, into a ribbon. Do this until the ribbon breaks under its own weight. If the ribbon is only an inch long, then you have a Loam Soil. If the ribbon is between one and two inches long, you have a Clay Loam Soil. If the ribbon is longer than two inches, you have a Clay Soil. If the soil also feels gritty, no matter how long the ribbon, then you have a sandier version of these three types of soil, and one that will drain well, but perhaps need more frequent watering. The less gritty it is, the more clay there is in it, and the longer your soil will take to drain.

The next important thing you need to know is the acid balance of your soil. You can easily test this with an inexpensive kit from your local garden center or hardware store. Acid balance is measured on a special scale called the pH scale, and 6.5 is the best number to have for most plants. If you have that, or a lower number, then you can grow acid-loving plants. Soil around the number 7 is called neutral, and above 7 is alkaline.

What Soil Type does Thuja Green Giant Like?

Fortunately, Thuja Green Giant is very adaptable and will grow well in all four main types of soil. In more sandy soils it is best to add lots or organic material when planting, and to water more frequently. Clay soil too benefits from organic material, since it opens up the soil and improves the drainage. If you have a clay soil, then only water when it begins to dry, as this kind of soil drains slowly. If you have the ideal soil – a loam type – then you are lucky, and you will have an easy garden to grow plants in, but even if your soil is sand or clay, Thuja Green Giant will do well if you put a little extra effort into preparing the soil. If you have a very sandy soil, then extra water and fertilizer will be needed to get the maximum growth from your plants.

With the acid balance too, this is a plant that is happy in all types of soil, from acid to alkaline, so it will thrive, no matter what your soil type is. You will not have to try and modify it, although if your soil is very acidic, with a pH below 4.5, adding some garden lime to the soil when preparing the planting area will help release extra nutrients to encourage the maximum growth for your Green Giants. Even in very alkaline soils, over 7.5, this plant will thrive, unlike many other evergreens.

The one thing you should pay attention to is drainage. Does water lie on the soil surface for more than a few hours after heavy rain? If it does, you have poorly-drained soil, and it is a good idea to plant your hedge on a ridge, by mounding up the soil in a row. This will lift the roots out of the wet soil, and keep them a little drier during the important establishment stage of growth.

The information you gather about your soil will really help you make good choices for future garden plants, and help you plan watering and fertilizer applications. Whatever your soil, you can be sure that Thuja Green Giant is such a tough and reliable plant that it will flourish in all but the most adverse conditions. Just a little care will make all the difference.

Correct Spacing for Thuja Green Giant

Thuja Green Giant is the most popular screening and hedging plant for a wide area of the country. It is so fast-growing that an attractive, durable screen or hedge can be created in a few short years. When planning to plant a screen or hedge, how far apart you are going to place your plants is the first decision you must make. Spacing depends on several factors, and it is going to have a big effect on how soon you have an effective screen, and how durable that screen is going to be. It is definitely worth putting some serious thinking and planning into this step, before purchasing your trees.

Why Close Planting is a Bad Idea

The most common mistake made is putting the plants too close. This becomes more of a problem the taller you want your final screen or hedge to be. It is always tempting to go for an ‘instant hedge’ and pack the plants as closely as you can in the row. This might give a quick effect, and for a shorter hedge it can even work out OK, but it usually just creates future problems instead. One obvious problem is that by packing the root balls together, there is no room for future root development, so the plants become stunted and starved for food – meaning slower growth over the long term. The second problem is that plants naturally compete with each other for light, so by crowding them together they grow tall and skinny, and the lower branches quickly die, leaving your hedge bare and thin.

A tall thin hedge is also much more likely to bend over or even break in a storm, strong winds or a blizzard. The thin stems just can’t hold up the branches once they are weighed down with water, ice or snow. That is that last thing you want to happen to your hedge, so you need to encourage sturdy growth, and to do that means allowing the plants more room.

Choose the Right Spacing for the Result You Want

Grown as a single plant, Thuja Green Giant will be about 12 feet across in 12 years or so. That means that a screen even at that spacing will eventually form a solid barrier. Most of us don’t want to wait that long, so something closer makes sense. In trials that were done at the University of Arkansas, very small plants were 5 feet across in 7 years, meaning that the typical 4-foot or 5-foot tree bought for a screen or hedge will be that wide in just 2 or 3 years. So, if you space your plants 5 feet apart you will get the best combination of sturdiness and speed to complete your screen. If you have more time, or less money, then spacing between 5 and 10 feet wide will always give you a solid screen, some just take a little longer to get there.

For hedges, closer spacing is best, because you want a denser surface to trim it into that beautiful solid, green hedge you are dreaming of. This means that for hedges, spacing your plants between 3 and 5 feet apart will give you perfect results in a very short time.

Single or Double Spacing?

The answer to this question depends on how solid you want the barrier to be, and how much space you have. Double spacing – where we plant two rows, not one, with the plants staggered in the rows to create a zigzag pattern – is the best way to get a really dense screen that will block wind, noise, dust and drifting snow. It will be wider, so you need more room, and it takes a few more plants. However, since the spacing in the rows is increased, it actually doesn’t take a whole lot more plants at all. For example, if you are planning a single row spaced 5 feet apart, then a double row, with the rows 3 feet apart, and the plants 8 feet apart in the rows, still gives you plants that are 5 feet apart on the diagonal. (Some quick school geometry with Pythagoras’ Theorem will prove that). This means that for a 150-foot screen, you need 30 plants with single spacing, and only 8 more for a double row. Those few extra plants will give you a really solid and dense screen just as quickly, and a superior result in the long-term.

Planning and Planting Your Hedge

The first step is to measure out the length you want your hedge or screen to be. Then try dividing that length by 5 for a screen, or 3 for a hedge – how many plants is that? Let’s take an example. I want a hedge that is 123 feet long. If I divide that by 3 I find I need 41 plants. If I go with a wider spacing of 4 feet, that number comes down to 31 plants. Is the saving worth the slightly longer wait for that perfect hedge? Only you can answer that question.

Once your plants arrive, and you are ready to plant – something we have looked at in other blogs here – it is important to place all your plants in their final location before beginning to plant. Put the first and last plants half your chosen planting distance from the place you want the hedge to end, and then place the plants in between. Adjust the positions so that every plant is evenly spaced BEFORE you start planting.

 

Thinking about spacing in the planning stage, and making the right decision before you place your order, is time well-spent, and will give you the best possible result for your investment. Thuja Green Giant is a tough, adaptable plant, but it will give you its best if you help out with a little planning. You will soon have that screen or hedge you have been dreaming about.

Trimming Your Thuja Green Giant Hedge

 

Thuja Green Giant makes a perfect hedge – dense, upright and always green and healthy. It is fast growing, so you will soon have the screening and backdrop for your garden that you are looking for. Taking some simple steps in trimming it properly will help you grow a hedge that will not only look good, but will also be healthy, strong, and resistant to snow and storms. With a little care your hedge will always be green and dense right to the ground – just like you wanted it to be.

Start Trimming Soon After Planting

The commonest mistake made with hedges is to wait until they reach the height you want and then start trimming. This approach will never give you a strong dense hedge, so instead you need to start early. As soon as your new plants are established – and you can tell that by the appearance of new growth – you should start trimming them very lightly. At first, you just need to go along the line and snip off an inch or two or the longer new shoots. This will encourage your plants to send out more side-shoots, and develop a denser pattern of growth. Allow the hedge to grow a little, and then trim lightly again. Gradually let it grow to the size you want, and it will already be neat and dense when it gets there.

When to Trim Thuja Green Giant

You can trim your hedge at most times of year, but the best times are late summer to early fall, or late spring, after the new growth has sprouted out and ripened. You may need to trim at both times if your hedge is young and growing vigorously. If you want a very neat hedge at all times, then you can also trim in summer, but do it before the hottest part of the year begins. If you live in a warm area with mild winters, then you can trim just about any time, although you should still avoid the heat of summer and the coldest part of winter.

Slope the Sides

For green parts of plants to grow, they need sunshine and light. If the top of your hedge is wide, then the lower parts will get less light, and become woody and twiggy, with little or no green shoots. So right from the start you should slope the sides inwards by a few degrees so that the top is thinner than the bottom. Imagine that you laid a long pole against the hedge, leaning inwards slightly. All the shoots that stick above that pole need to be cut off, so that you have a flat surface that leans in by maybe five degrees. A common mistake is to make the sides vertical, and then just taper the last foot or two. This is wrong – the whole side should slope, right from the ground.

If you grow your hedge in this way, it will have healthy green growth right to the ground for the longest possible time. It also means that with a thinner top and with sloping sides snow and ice will fall off easily, not build up on the top and break the hedge. If you do this you not only keep your hedge healthy and green right to the ground, you protect it against snow breakage too.

Trim Your Hedge the Right Way

When you do the actual trimming, keep the shoots horizontal. This means stopping them from growing as long, upward shoots on the outside of the hedge. Aim for a brush-cut, not a comb-over! These long shoots can easily become dislodged, or break under snow, and if they break or die they can leave a large hole that will take a long time to fill back in.

Trim from side to side and even down from top to bottom – not just up from bottom to top. This will prevent long shoots developing and give your hedge a dense, full surface. Start trimming at one end, and start trim from the bottom up. There will be less growth at the bottom to cut off, so that sets the base of the slope you are going to create. As you trim higher up, you will notice that to keep the slope even you are cutting off longer shoots and more of the hedge. This is normal and correct. The upper growth is always more vigorous and by removing more you will prevent it from drawing food and water away from the bottom. This, and letting the light in, is how you keep the bottom thick and healthy.

If you planted your hedge along a path or driveway, you already have a line to follow to keep it level. If it doesn’t, then especially while you are training it, a tight string stretched from one end to the other along the ground makes a good guide for you to. Work steadily along, trimming all the way to the top in each section, but don’t trim the top flat yet.

Once you have a nice even slope, and a flat surface all along the hedge you can think about the top. Thuja Green Giant can be trimmed square or rounded, it is your choice, but a rounded trim will shed snow better if you live in an area with heavy winter storms. Use a long pole with a mark on it leaning against the hedge to show you the height, so that you get an even, level top – it looks so much better that way!

It is important to realize that only stems with green growth on them will send out new shoots. Never cut into a branch so hard that it is just a bare stem. These will never sprout again. This is another reason to start trimming early in the life of your hedge, because If you let it become overgrown, it will be hard or even impossible to get it back to size, without leaving bare stumps that will never grow.

 

So start trimming early in the life of your hedge, and trim regularly, at least once a year. This way you will have a neat, dense, healthy and beautiful hedge for many years to come.

How Fast Will My Thuja Green Giant Grow?

 

When you start a new garden, or update an older one, a critical feature is privacy – and exactly how to get it. Hedges and screens are a cheaper, longer lasting and much more attractive option than fences, but they do take a little time to develop. So when we put in a hedge or privacy screen, you want to choose something that will give you really fast growth, and this is where Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’ stands out. This great evergreen is deer-proof, easy to grow, hardy across most of the country, and attractive every day of the year. As if that was not enough, it is also one of the fastest growing evergreens there is. Period.

Thuja Green Giant Growth Rate

So just how fast will this tree grow? Three feet a year is normal in the early years. Up to five feet a year is possible, under ideal conditions. With growth rates like that, after a few short years you have 15 foot, 20 foot and soon 30 to 40 feet trees. The growth stays upright and narrow, so you get the height, but they won’t get too fat around, or crowd your garden.

The actual growth rate you get also depends a little on you, since to get that maximum growth rate your trees need a good supply of nutrients and water. Choose a high quality plant food formulated for evergreens, and you are off to a good start. Choose a modern, slow-release fertilizer for the very best results, because they feed continuously, not in bursts. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and don’t put on more than recommended. Extra will do more harm than good. Water regularly, but let the soil dry a little between each watering. Always soak the soil completely, and water over a large area that covers all the roots, not just up against the trunk of your trees. Slow watering over a few hours is much better than putting on a lot in a few minutes.

Proven Fast Growth

You don’t have to just take my word for it, scientific tests have been done that show just how fast this plant will grow. In the plant department at the University of Arkansas a few years back, they planting many different trees and shrubs in a trial to see how fast they would grow. The started with some very tiny plants given them by local nurseries, and planted them out in a field. They got a little fertilizer in the beginning, and some water during dry weather, but otherwise they were left alone. Each year the scientists measured the plants, and took notes.

What they found was amazing. Thuja Green Giant outgrew every other plant in the field. It never got sick or harboured pests, and it always looked great. Seven years later, from a tiny little plant pushed into the ground, they had a monster ten feet tall – that’s right, almost twice as tall as a person, a big, green, giant of a plant that had grown faster and stronger than any other plant in that field.

Now remember, they started with tiny plants maybe a foot tall. If you use good-sized plants that are already 5-6 feet tall, you will get even better results. Those plants have stronger roots and they will start growing even faster. So, if you add that 10 feet to the 5 you start with, and allow for the faster growth of older trees, your screen will be 15 feet tall in 5-6 years. That is truly remarkable, and unbeatable with an evergreen tree.

Why Does this Tree Grow so Fast?

Many people wonder why some trees grow faster than others, and the answer can be pretty interesting.  Everyone knows about gene mutations and bad genes these days, and every living thing has them. They stop all the systems of life running at peak efficiency and limit what a plant can do. However, in plants, it is possible for two different species to cross-pollinate and make a hybrid, and that is how Thuja Green Giant was born.

A seedling that grew by chance in a nursery in Denmark, it was the child of two different Thuja species, the Japanese Thuja and Western Redcedar. These come from opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean and had never met before. Both of them had some bad genes, but each had different bad genes, so when they crossed the cancelled out each other’s bad ones, making a plant that ran on all cylinders, at peak performance. Plant breeders call this hybrid vigor, and many of our food crops have it too.

So this is why Thuja Green Giant is able to outgrow just about anything else in your garden. You really can’t find a better fast growing evergreen for perfect screens and hedges.

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Thuja Planting Tips

Thuja green giant is one of the most widely used trees. It not only grows fast but it also not picky on soil and can grow in sandy soil as well as heavy clay soil. It is practically maintenance free, the only maintenance that you will be required to do is hedge shearing after years of growth. It is also more resistant to pest and diseases. Besides that, it very attractive and has amazing look if well maintained. So are you planning to plant Thuja green giant in your compound but you don’t know the planting procedure? If yes then you are in the right place because in this article we are going to give you a step by step procedure that will help you plant this amazing fast growing tree.

Visit www.thetreecenter.com for more detailed information.

1. Plan first

Before you start the planting process, it is very important to first come up with a proper plan that will help you know where you are going to plant this tree, how you want it to appear and also its purpose. Thuja green giant is a large landscape tree and requires a good planning. You need to know the length of the area where you intend to plant the tree so as to number of tress to plant.

2. Determine planting location

Once you have come up with a proper plan, the next very crucial step is to determine the area where you will plant this amazing tree. As said earlier Thuja green giant grows very fast and covers a wide area. As result, you need to plant it in an area that is not close to buildings and electricity post to prevent accidents. The tree location should also have adequate exposure to sunlight because Thuja green giant required plenty of sunlight in order to grow well.

3. Clear the planning location.

You need to clear all weeds and son from the location on a sunny day. Weed can compete for nutrients with the trees and that can prevent the tree from growing fast and strong.

4. Dig the planting holes.

After locating the planting site and clearing the planting location, the next step is to dig the planting hole. Expert recommend that the planting holes should be approximately two times the roots of the ball with a shovel. Thuja green giant is a very tall plant and as a result, you need to make the hole deep enough (at least 2 inches) to allow the crown of the tree to sit above the surrounding soil.

5. Add compost in the hole. 

Before you transfer the seedling from the nursery, it is very important to first place compost to the hole. Compost ensures that the roots of the tree have essential nutrients as well as good air flow that will allow it to grow fast and healthier.
6. Transfer Thuja green giant form nursery.
After digging the hole to the required length and applying compost manure, the next step is to transfer the seedling from nursery to the planting holes. If you are planting more than one tree, then you should ensure that the holes are well spaced. Expert recommend that space between two successive planting holes should be at least 10 feet apart. Transfer the seedling then cover the hole will soil but not to capacity.

7. Water the plant.

Fill the remaining part of the hole with water. Watering the tree just after planting it is very important because it not only helps to hydrate the tree but it also helps the soil to hold together. Fill the remaining part of the hole with solid and compost manure.
After successful planting of Thuja green giant, there are some things that you need to do to ensure that the tree survives. First you need to continue watering the tree every day (depending on the climatic condition) so as to help it establish itself. Thuja green giant are prone to pest and diseases. You need to spay appropriate pesticide to get rid of pests that may attack the tree thus slowing its growth. In addition to that, you also need to ensure that the tree gets adequate sunlight for it to grow fast. Don’t forget to spread a 3 inch layer of mulch over the planting hole area.