Putting in a hedge is a big decision. Besides the cost, there is the work of preparing the ground, planting, caring for the plants during the vital first season, and then trimming and training until it matures. That hedge will be with you for a long time, and it will be a big part of what you see in your garden. It makes sense to think it through and get it right. Thuja Green Giant is a very popular hedge plant – currently perhaps the most popular of all, across a large part of the country. It grows well in many different locations and climate zones, and it is tough, fast-growing and reliable. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily what you want for your particular circumstances, so let’s go through some of the things you should consider when making your decision.
Where Do You Live?
Thuja Green Giant is a hardy evergreen that will grow where winter temperatures fall to as much as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or Zone 5. If you live in a colder zone, such as Zones 3 or 4, then this is not the plant you want. Instead, make your hedge with the Emerald Green Arborvitae, which is hardy to minus 40, so stands just about anything the American climate can throw at it. If you live in the coldest states, that plant should definitely be your hedge choice.
Also, if you live in a very hot area, where access to water is limited, and you will probably not be able to water your hedge very much or at all, the consider using the Italian Cypress for your hedge. This tree is very drought and heat resistant, and has attractive dark-green foliage that trims well into a beautiful hedge.
How Soon Do You Want a Hedge?
If speed is what you are looking for, then with Thuja Green Giant you have absolutely come to the right place. Trials at the University of Arkansas, pitting many different hedging plants against each other, proved scientifically that this is the fastest hedge plant on the planet. They started with very small plants, and in 7 years they were 10 feet tall and dense too. They only gave some water, and with a full fertilizer program, you can beat that with your hedge by a year or maybe two. So for the fastest mature hedge possible, Green Giant is definitely the number one choice.
What is Your Soil Like?
Thuja Green Giant will grow well in all kinds of soil, from sand to clay, and in acid or alkaline soils. So, it really doesn’t matter much what kind of soil you have. There is just one thing to think about, and that is if your soil stays wet most of the time. Soils that are always wet contain no air, and air is essential for healthy roots on your Green Giant hedge. Wet soil is not suitable for growing this plant, and your hedge will not do well.
There are several things you can do in this situation. Emerald Green Arborvitae is much more water-tolerant, and wild forms often grow naturally in wetlands. That makes it is a good alternative, as long as you are not in a very hot area. Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, is excellent in wet areas in the hottest states, but it does lose its leaves in winter. Alternatively, since Thuja Green Giant is such a good choice for so many other reasons, consider two possibilities:
- If your soil is often wet, build a low mound, 8 to 12 inches tall, by removing soil from either side of the hedge-line. That also creates a shallow ditch on either side for water to collect in. The mound will stay drier, and this will usually allow the plants to grow well and thrive.
- If the soil is always very wet and even flooded, then you can install drainage along the hedge-line. Bury a drainage pipe on either side of the hedge-line, and take the pipe to a spot where the water can drain away, such as a lower-lying area.
How Much Sun Will It Get?
Here we usually have no problems, because Thuja Green Giant will grow well in full sun, and in shade down to about 50% brightness. So if you have some shade, or shade for only part of the day, then you have no worries, and your new hedge will thrive. If the area is permanently in shade, then consider planting Skip Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus, which is a handsome evergreen shrub with glossy oval leaves. It is fast-growing and easily trimmed to any height you need. In colder areas, Canadian Hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, makes a wonderful hedge in full shade, with soft foliage and a gentle beauty.
Do You Live by the Ocean?
Here the news is all good. Thuja Green Giant is resistant to ocean salt drift, and since it is also happy in sandy soil, it will grow well at the coast in all but the most exposed locations. Salt-heavy winds blowing in will not bother it at all – which is also true of salt drifting from highways in winter, so it’s great to know you have made the right choice.
Do You Have Deer Visiting?
We all love Bambi, but not so much when he comes visiting in winter, feeling hungry. Lots of hedging plants are eaten by deer, so you have good reason to worry. The good news is that Thuja Green Giant is one of the top plants for deer-resistance, and although deer can be unpredictable, you can be confident that you will not have a problem with them if you choose this hedge plant.
So now you have a better idea if you are making the right choice, and you can feel more confident that you will enjoy seeing a great hedge develop quickly on your property, giving you privacy, tranquility and shelter.