Thuja Green Giant is the most popular evergreen planted in gardens, for its vigor, fast-growth, pest & disease resistance, and site adaptability. There are a lot of situations that can arise in gardens, and on larger properties, where this plant is the solution to a need or problem, but sometimes that may not be obvious. There are a surprising number of uses for this reliable plant, so we are going to discuss some of the most important ones, all of which may not be obvious to a new gardener.
This is probably the most common use for this tree, so this one does not fall into the ‘not too obvious’ category, but it certainly needs some discussion. There are lots of situations where screening is needed on a property – here are the main ones:
- Your garden has no privacy – this could be due to a busy road passing by, or being close to neighboring houses, so that you are overlooked. There may be a walking path beside your garden, and walkers have even more time to take a look than passing drivers do.
- You have ugly views – a busy highway is not something you want to look at, especially if you have an attractive rural property. Or perhaps you can see an industrial building, workshop of factory. These properties are often undervalued because of this, but a few years after planting a barrier your property value can zoom up, once you eliminate the cause of that lower value. A screen can be a real financial benefit.
- You have noise around you – road traffic, aircraft, factories, sports fields, playgrounds – these all create noise-pollution that makes being in the garden an unhappy experience. Fences do little to block noise, unless they are specially designed for that function (and usually ugly and expensive), but plants filter sound very effectively, and behind a screen of Thuja Green Giant, all will be calm and peaceful, while the world rages on around you.
The need for screening is particularly a problem is the road passes the back or side of your property. We tend to accept that the front garden is not so private, as it almost always faces a road. But on corner lots, the side too is open, allowing a clear view into the back garden, which we often find unacceptable. Even with a ‘front’ only’ road, if the property is wide most of the garden may be visible. Worst of all is having a road running along the back, leaving you totally visible. There are lots of ways to screen, but plants provide the most cost-effective solution in almost all cases. They don’t begin to deteriorate the moment you put them in, as fences do – instead they become better and better. The only problem is the time taken to develop, and this is where Thuja Green Giant has the edge over every other evergreen available. It will grow 3 feet plus a year in its early years, and sooner than you can imagine you will have good screening – that only gets denser and better with every passing year.
Even if you move into a new development that has wooden fences already in place, remember that those fences will never screen higher up, and they will require maintenance and deteriorate over time. Planting a row of Thuja Green Giant along the fence will develop a screen to replace it, as the fence deteriorates. By the time it becomes an eye-sore, that collapsing fence won’t be visible to you at all, and it can be removed. The perfect solution.
As well, because fences are short, they provide only limited screening from things at ground level, not from upper story windows, multi-story buildings, or tall structures like billboards or power transformers. Thuja Green Giant will grow 20 or 30 feet tall – tall enough to screen most things from view, and certainly block the lower levels of even the tallest building. A 20 feet screening row of evergreens, say 30 feet from your viewing point, will block the lower 60 feet of something 100 feet away. It’s true!
In some places, such as open countryside, or at the beach, strong winds can blow, and these make being in the garden unpleasant on many days. Windbreaks made from a variety of trees and shrubs can stop this.
- Your garden is windy and exposed – it is very hard to grow a wide variety of plants, and create a beautiful garden, if the site is constantly swept by strong winds, that bring cold, rain and snow. Plants remain small, their foliage is damaged, and flowering is reduced or absent. Fruit trees drop their fruit – the list goes on and on. In exposed locations providing shelter from the prevailing winds is an essential first step to making a real garden, that you can enjoy, and love.
- You want to encourage birds and wildlife – shelter belts made from a variety of trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, filter wind, trap noise, and provide refuges and nesting places for birds and other small animals. Birds are often excellent pest-control in a garden, and so you help your plants too, while encouraging a rich local ecology.
Plants are the most effective way to trap air pollution, both particles and gases. That stink of a highway will largely disappear if the air must flow through evergreens like Thuja Green Giant to reach your garden. Dust is trapped, and settles around the base of plants, leaving the air clean and pure. Asthma and bronchitis will probably be reduced too, and these health benefits are real, and especially effective in urban areas.
Creating Internal Gardens
Making separate gardens within your garden is a great way to enrich your experience of it. Especially in a larger garden, you can create a series of ‘rooms’ for different purposes – a vegetable garden; a fruit garden; an ornamental flower garden to stroll in; a garden for your children to play in; the list goes on and it can be tailored to your personal preferences. Clipped hedges of Thuja Green Giant – they can be clipped regularly for a formal look or left more casual and clipped once a year or less – are a simple and effective way to create these internal rooms, and series of functional areas. Hedges can be the conventional straight line, but they can also be curved and even grown in circles, depending on your needs or creativity. Entrances can be created by overlapping the ends of the hedge, so that you can’t even see there are other areas, or the openings can be lined up to create long vistas through one garden after another. Sounds ambitious? Perhaps, but you can do more than you perhaps realize with a creative approach.
For one last suggestion, you don’t have to grow Thuja Green Giant in rows. Single plants, or groups of two, three, five, or more, clustered in corners, or on a lawn, create elegant and easy-to-grow accent points, and permanent garden features that give structure to your garden, making it peaceful and graceful. When creating clusters, always use odd numbers, (except for two) – it looks a whole lot more natural.