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.