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THUJA GREEN GIANT-TREE GUIDE

WHY THUJA GREEN GIANT?

Thuja Green Giant is your fast growing answer. These stunning evergreens can grow up to 3’ a year!  They are cold hardy to -25F, tolerant of heat and humidity and widely adaptable to a variety of soils and hardy to Zone 5-8. 

Extremely versatile, we’ve seen it growing in hot/steamy Atlanta all the way up into our location here in West Michigan. This introduction from the U.S. National Arboretum has become a widely popular privacy hedge or screen. 

Thujas have proven to be deer and rabbit resistant, as well as disease and insect resistant. Once established, Green Giant is as close to a no-maintenance plant as they come.  They keep their pyramidal shape without shearing (but can be trimmed) growing 10’ wide by 50’ tall when fully mature.

This stately evergreen at the edge of a property will hide unpleasant views and afford much wanted privacy. Your neighbors can also ‘borrow’ the view of your living fence. Plant for a fast-growing privacy hedge of rich, forest green that also smells delicious.  You can’t ask for a better growing Hedge Plant.

Consider placing Knock Out Roses or Ornamental Grasses in front for the “finishing” touch.

REASONS FOR GROWING THUJA GREEN GIANT

  • Barrier - Block out Wind, Neighbors & Unsightly Views
  • Privacy – Quick growing privacy barrier, which is shaped like a column – so it gives you complete privacy with no gaping holes.
  • Grows tall - Green Giant can grow up to 50 feet tall
  • Fast growing – This is the fastest evergreen we know of – growing up to 3 feet a year.  The first year they are busy establishing their root systems, so you can expect 12-18" of growth.  The second year with optimal growing conditions you'll see 2-3' of growth.
  • Deer Resistant – Though deer are known for nibbling on almost anything, they prefer to browse other plants if nearby
  • Grows almost anywhere – highly adaptable to different soils
  • Easily Pruned – Thujas can be pruned to any desired height- even 6-10’ feet tall.
  • Disease Resistant – Resistant to bagworms and other diseases than commonly affect Leyland Cypress
  • Spacing -  6 feet apart – straight rows or staggered 
  • Fertilizer – To encourage optimum growth each year, we recommend fertilizing every April 15th with 1-2 tablespoons of a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote.  This gets them off to a great start in late spring, and keeps feeding them through the entire season.
  • Save $$ --Get the privacy you want for a fraction of what a fence would cost.

NEED SOMETHING SHORTER?   Consider Thuja Emerald, which matures out at 7-8 feet tall, or Thuja Wintergreen, which reaches 25 feet tall.

PLANT SIZE

How big are your plants when you ship them?

Our Jumbo 1 gallon Thuju Green Giant averages 2-3 feet tall at time of shipping.  We are always surprised when people say they buy bigger trees so they would grow faster.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Larger trees suffer more transplant shock and will take longer to start growing.  We feel our 1 gallon pots will not only save you money, but you’ll enjoy bigger trees within just a few years.

HARDINESS

How hardy is Green Giant?  Green Giant can be grown in Zones 5,6,7,8

What is my Planting Zone?  Visit our website at www.GreatGardenPlants.com and locate Find My Zone to determine if Thuja is suited for your area.

SOIL

What type of soil do I need?  Thuja grows almost anywhere from sand to clay, except in areas where there is poor drainage.  To determine drainage, dig a hole 18” deep and 8” wide and fill halfway with water. 

If water is still standing after 15 minutes, we suggest you find a different site. 

LIGHT

Will Thuja Grow in Shade? Thuja Green Giant should do great with 6 hours of filtered sunlight every day. We’ve seen them planted in much heavier shade.

SOIL PREPARATION

Prepare a planting location that receives 6 hours of sun a day.

Test pH of soil.  Thuja prefers a pH between 6-8.  If your soil tests below 6, you will need to add lime to the soil.  For a pH above 8, add peat moss.

PLANTING - WHEN?

Spring Planting

Thujas are best planted in early spring when the weather is cool and there is less transpiration effect.  You can continue to plant in early summer if you are in a northern climate and weather remains cool.

Fall Planting

Thujas can be planted in the fall.  It is important to plant them 8 weeks prior to a hard freeze. Make sure plants receive up to a 1” of water a week.  Do not fertilize in the fall.

PLANTING - HOW TO

  1. Once you have identified your planting location,
  2. Dig a hole twice as large & deep as your root ball
  3. Refer to spacing information below
  4. Fill in hole with organic matter. This helps to get your plants off to a good start.
  5. Remove Thuja from plastic container and lightly loosen the roots. Place in the hole with fresh soil and tap down the soil so plant is set firm and there is no gaps in the soil. Make sure the top of the root ball is flush with the soil line – not above or below it.
  6. Provide up to an inch of water a week for newly planted Thujas.

PLANT SPACING

Thujas can be planted in single or staggered rows. Depending on desired effect, space Thuja 5-8 feet apart

SINGLE ROW SPACING

 XXXXXXX --- Thuja Green Giant spaced 4 feet apart in a single row

STAGGERED ROW SPACING

For extra privacy or noise abatement, plant Thuja not in one straight line but a double row alternating the placement as in this diagram planting 10 feet apart.  It is tempting to go closer to get very fast coverage, but since Thujas can grow three feet a year try to be a little more patient. You’ll be rewarded because mature plants will be spaced perfectly.

  X X X X X

   X X X X X  - Staggered Rows Spacing 8-10' apart (4 feet apart beween rows)

PLANTING SIZE - FAQ

 Can I plant near old hardwoods? If you can keep them adequately moist during their first 1-2 years of establishment, you'll be fine. They would need a good soaking every week during the spring & hot summer months

How close to a building can I plant?  You should plant at least 8 feet away from any building structure

Is Thuja salt tolerant?  No, Thuja is salt sensitive. It can however, withstand heavy ice or snow loads.

 I just planted my Thujas in spring and have not seen any summer growth, why?  Plants are busy “putting their roots down” so to speak.  The good stuff is happening beneath the soil, where the plants are establishing themselves in their new environment.  Depending on conditions, you might growth spurts by fall or definitely by the following year.

WATERING

It is extremely important that you water in Thuja well and then provide an additional 1” of water every week during the first growing season.

Can I overwater Thuja? Watering is often not the issue, but poor drainage is.  To test your drainage, see section above on Soil.  The ground should not become soggy or flooded after rainfall.  Thujas need average drainage to thrive and grow well.

FERTILIZING

We use Osmocote Slow-Release Fertilizer, available at any good garden center. Place 2 tablespoons in bottom of each hole prior to planting. This feeds your Thuja all year long & is only done once per year.

Here's a secret growing tip to fast growing THUJAS! Every April 15th (the dreaded tax day) I fertilize with 2-3 tablespoons of Osmocote slow-release fertilizer scratched into the top 2 inches of soil at the base of each plant. Water at least 1" per week from spring thru late fall. This guarantees you'll see rapid growth of 3' or more per year.

MULCHING

Should I mulch?  Never use more than 3 inches of mulch and never use plastic over the roots

PRUNING

Absolutely! If left unpruned, Thuja Green Giant will form a graceful pyramidal shape 8' wide and 40' tall. They respond wonderfully to pruning in early summer (after they've had their spring flush).  We’ve seen them planted a mere 18" apart and kept to a tight 6' tall around a formal rose garden. Prune in spring before new growth occurs.  You can use a hedge sheer or trim by hand.  Never cut more than 2 feet off the top of the tree in on season. Trimming the top will slow its vertical growth but encourage the bottom of the plant to grow bushier.

WINTERIZING

How do I prepare my plants for winter? 

The most important thing is going into winter is that Thuja is well hydrated. The cold isn’t the problem, lack of water is.  This is called winter burn.  Winter winds dry out the evergreen leaves so the outer few inches turn brown. (See picture) In April, we recommend taking your hedge trimmers and removing the brown.  Thujas will put out new growth and be fine by the end of May.

Should I fertilize in the fall? Do not fertilize since this causes soft, lush growth which then becomes vulnerable to winter burn.  Staking is not necessary with our 1 gallon pots.

Should I use burlap? We’ve heard mixed results with burlap.  If you elect to use them, avoid using any anti-desiccants.

DOGS, CRITTER & DEER

Is Thuja deer resistant?  Thujas are highly deer resistant but not necessarily deer proof. No plant is deer proof if deer are plentiful and hungry.

If you have problem with deer nibbling, you might want to purchase a product call Plantskydd, one of the most effective deer repellants we know of.  This will prevent the deer from continuing to feed.  Wait until spring to see if new growth breaks out, if not you might need to replace the trees.

My dogs chewed off the bottom growth?  Is there anything I can do to bring them back to life?  Sorry to say, nothing will grow back where they have chewed.  Fertilizing will not help. Your trees will survive however.

ALTERNATIVE HEDGE PLANTS

Need something shorter?  Consider Thuja Emerald which grows only 7-8 feet tall. Leyland Cypress, Thuja Wintergreen are other excellent hedge plants.  Other considerations (not evergreen) include Ornamental Grasses, Burning Bush, or Hydrangeas.

Call Us Toll Free – 877-447-4769

Email Us at Info@GreatGardenPlants.com