Choosing the right plant for hedges and screens gives lots of people headaches. Evergreen? Deciduous? Fast-growing? Drought-resistant? These thoughts spin through your head, and even after choosing, we still wonder if we got it right. Let’s take that load off your brain, and give you some solid reasons why, for most locations, Thuja Green Giant is the plant to choose when you are replacing an old hedge, or planning a new one.
Reason 1: It’s really, really, fast-growing
It’s a busy world, and no one wants to wait forever. It makes a lot of sense to choose the plant that will give you a hedge as soon as possible. Thuja Green Giant is it. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the experts. In trials at the University of Arkansas, they planted several small plants of all the popular hedging plants, in a field. They didn’t do much, just kept the weeds down and watered a little in the early years. After 7 years, the Thuja Green Giants were head and shoulders above all the competition, and they were 10 feet tall and 5 feet wide. That is a solid hedge – imagine in you had planted at the recommended spacing of 3 feet apart.
Now other sites will claim 3, 4 and even 5 feet of growth a year, but they don’t have the figures to prove it – it’s a hollow claim. Young plants can have spurts, especially in ideal soil, with good watering and a top fertilizer program. A year with 3 feet of growth is not only possible, but reasonably achievable. But those profs at the University did the work, and showed us that over the long haul, you can expect a solid 15 inches a year, and 24 inches in a good year. The important thing is that this is faster than any other evergreen around. Period. Nothing more to say. So if you want fast growth, choose Thuja Green Giant.
Reason 2: It’s deer resistant
Deer are funny animals. There is no guarantee that they won’t eat your socks if you take them off. When they are hungry enough they will eat anything at all. So there are reports out there that deer have eaten Thuja Green Giant. But there are not many, and the vast majority of people who have grown this terrific plant agree that it is deer-resistant. It is up there with spruce and fir on a deer’s ‘eat this only if you are really starving’ list. Unlike other kinds of arborvitae, like white cedar, that are top of the ‘yummy’ list, and are a magnet for deer anywhere. Since they will, at worse, take just a nibble and then move on, with its fast growth rate, you won’t even notice after a month of recovery in the spring. So say ‘goodbye’ to worrying about deer and your Green Giant hedge.
Reason 3: It grows in many kinds of soil
You have seen the list – sandy-loam, loamy-sand, sandy-loam-clay, silty-clay. It goes on and on, but those soil scientists need a thorough system to do their job. If you grow Thuja Green Giant, however, you don’t. You don’t need to worry at all about that complex stuff. Just ask yourself – is the spot I am thinking of always wet? If the answer is ‘No’, then go ahead and plant. Of all the evergreens, Thuja Green Giant is the most versatile when it comes to soil. It really is not fussy, and will grow in most types of soil, from sand to clay. It just won’t grow in a swamp. If that is what you have, I recommend Swamp Cypress – seriously. For everyone else, there is Thuja Green Giant.
The secret to getting plants to do well in all kinds of soil is to add organic material when you prepare the planting area. It doesn’t matter much what you use – home-made compost, rotted manure, rotted leaves, peat-moss, whatever you have, just use it. Spread a thick layer, at least 2 inches deep, and rototill it well into the ground, going as deep as you can. This will get your plants off to a flying start in any soil at all.
Reason 4: it’s easy to clip into a beautiful hedge
Thuja Green Giant is a plant that clips beautifully, and stays green right to the ground. Just what you want for the perfect hedge you are looking for. It isn’t thorny, spiny, or with sharp needles. The more you clip, the denser and denser it becomes. If you trim regularly, so that you just take off a couple of inches, you don’t even need to clean up – just sweep or blow the clippings back under the hedge. They will act as the perfect mulch, keeping weeds away, conserving water, and slowly adding nutrients as they decompose.
There is just one tip on clipping this plant. Make sure you slope the side inwards just a little. Keep it flat, like a wall, but lean the wall inwards a few degrees. This will not even show, but it will keep the lowest branches growing strongly, so that you have foliage right to the ground. This will also keep the top narrower, so that snow and freezing rain won’t get in there and break it down.
Actually, I lied. There is a second tip – and that is to start clipping as soon as your plants start to grow. Just a little, even an inch will do it. Clipping from an early age encourages dense branching, and gives you the best looking mature hedge.
Reason 5: It’s virtually pest and disease free
Compared to other fast-growing hedging plants, Thuja Green Giant resists all the important plant pests and diseases. Leyland Cypress is another fast-growing hedging plant that is very popular. But in many areas it is susceptible to branch canker and dieback caused by some nasty fungal diseases. This can really play havoc with your hedging, and the good news is that these diseases do not bother Thuja Green Giant.
There have been reports that, like other arborvitae, this tree is popular with bag-worms, and that seems to be true. But this pest is minor, and it advertises its presence, with a small ‘bag’ made of needles and webbing. If you keep an eye on your plants in early spring, and remove any bags you find, then you will not have problems with this pest. Since the females can’t fly, they spread slowly, and once you are free of them, you will probably stay that way. Other than that, there is really nothing else that will threaten your beautiful hedge.
We have seen five good reasons why you are making the right choice when you choose Thuja Green Giant to grow that beautiful hedge you want. It will do a terrific job for you, and you can be sure there is nothing better out there.