Fast-growing privacy trees are a popular choice for new homeowners who are hoping to add some protection to their backyard’s perimeter. Thuja Trees are one of the most well-known conical evergreen privacy trees. They add aesthetically pleasing landscape design features with the added benefit of a privacy screen. Thuja Trees vary in size from small shrubs to large evergreen trees based on the cultivar. The most common varieties, Thuja “Green Giants” and Emerald Green Thujas, offer both ornamental and privacy benefits.
Larger specimens do best when planted in larger landscape areas where their fast growth will not overtake nearby shrubs or small trees. Smaller specimens can work well in small yards and tight spaces. Thuja Trees are characterized by their fast growth rate of between 3 and 5 feet per year. Additionally, the tallest Thuja Trees can reach between 30 and 60 feet tall, while smaller varieties fall between 8 and 12 feet.
Before purchasing and planting a new tree, it is important to review the needs of the tree, the work required, and the benefits a particular tree will provide. Thuja Trees are adaptable, easy-to-grow, and provide perfect property line privacy screens. Below is a quick overview of the needs of the Thuja Tree. Read about the specifics for planting and caring for Thuja Trees in the following sections.
How To Buy Thuja Green Giants
The Tree Center offers carefully chosen Thuja Trees, which will ship quickly to most locations throughout the United States. There are two main varieties of Thujas to choose from when planting: Thuja “Green Giants” and Emerald Green Thujas. It is important to purchase Thuja Trees from a reputable arboretum, such as The Tree Center, as the early care and handling of the Thuja Tree is essential to its later successful growth.
How To Plant Thuja Trees
Sun: Plant in full sun to partial shade
Water: Water immediately after planting and once per week for the first six months, unless it rains.
When to Plant: Spring is best, though Thujas can root all year long.
Before buying a Thuja Tree, it is important to investigate and prepare an area for the new tree. Thuja Trees do well when planted between five and six feet apart in rows. This will provide them ample room to grow while also maintaining a dense privacy screen. Alternatively, Thuja Trees can be planted individually as an ornamental.
Locate an area with full to partial sun. After the tree arrives, observe the size of the root ball, then dig a hole. A wide hole is needed, about three times the width of the tree’s root ball. Depth is not as important, as too deep a hole will reduce oxygen access to the root systems. The hole should be slightly less deep than the height of the root ball, as once the tree’s root ball is planted it will settle.
Once the tree is set vertically in the hole, backfill with soil and water. Immediately water the transplanted tree. Although fertilizer is not usually needed, mulch can be applied to assist in water and oxygen distribution.
It is also vital to observe soil quality before planting any type of tree. Soil typically falls into three main categories: clay, loam, and silt. Each of these types of soil is characterized by a different thickness of grain. The best soil for Thuja Trees is that which is loam-like. Loamy soils are varied, including both small and large soil grains. There are often small rocks throughout the soil. This allows air and water to move easily through the soil. Clay soils are typically characterized by a red tint and silty soils are made up of fine grains.
Both clay and silt soils will make oxygen and water access difficult for the root systems. If the soil the Thuja Tree is being planted in is made of clay or silt, be sure to avoid compacting soil on the sides of the hole when planting. Referred to as “glazing”, this will make water and oxygen transference even more difficult. Use the side of the shovel or a pitchfork to indent the sides of the hole. This change in surface area will aid in providing necessities to the Thuja Tree.
The Thuja Tree is drought tolerant, so natural water access in most mild to moderate rainfall areas should be acceptable. However, in the first six months after planting, the Thuja Tree should be watered once a week if there is no rain.
Observe the Thuja Tree and surrounding soil for signs of over, or under-watering. Over-watering will often be observed by the quality of the soil about 8 inches below the surface of the soil. Well-watered soil will form a ball when squeezed. The ball will crumble when poked. Under-watering will result in both brittle Thuja Tree leaves or “needles” and powdery soil. One of the best ways to ensure adequate water access is through the use of an irrigation system.
Mulch and Fertilizer
Mulch and fertilizer can be beneficial, though they are by no means are necessary for successful tree growth. Mulch is the best option, as it can assist in providing water and oxygen to the soil while reducing weeds.
Fertilizer needs will depend on the soil itself. Thuja Trees do not need a specific nutrient ratio in order to demonstrate strong growth; however, soil quality, macronutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium), micronutrients, pH, and drainage qualities will all impact tree growth. The soil can be tested for these qualities in order to develop a profile for tree planting. Typically, though, a Thuja Tree that is well-watered, provided adequate sunshine, and cared for will demonstrate sufficient growth and provide its caretaker the privacy for which it is known.
Information on Thuja Trees
Thuja Trees are tolerant of the weather, managing both drought and disease with ease. The growth rate, characterized as “fast growth”, of between 3 and 5 feet a year is achieved with minimal, if any, pruning. Thuja Trees’ heights vary depending on the variety. Sometimes referred to as white cedars or red cedars, Thuja Trees are not true cedars. These coniferous evergreen trees fall under the Cupressaceae genus or Cypress family. Different species within the genus are native to North America and eastern Asia.
Thuja Tree Varieties and Cultivars
Thuja Trees, also known as arborvitaes, come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit specific landscaping needs. The arborvitae known as the Emerald Green Thuja is smaller, while the well-known and popular Thuja “Green Giant” lines many properties throughout most of the contiguous United States. These American Thujas will grow easily, offering both privacy and beauty.
Thuja Green Giants
The fast-growing and hardy Thuja Green Giant is one of the most popular Thuja Trees available. Its fast-growth rate of between 3 and 5 feet a year, coupled with its mature height of between 30 and 60 feet tall make it an easy choice for forming a privacy screen along a yard’s perimeter. The Thuja Green Giant is resistant to drought, pests, and disease.
Trimming the Thuja Green Giant is not necessary, and specimens planted in rows will typically reach uniform heights; however, with pruning, the landscaper can maintain almost any height and shape, including a hedge. Thuja Trees can be planted either in a single row, between 5 and 6 feet apart or in a double row with trees planted 8 feet apart in a “picket-fence” pattern. Thuja Green Giants are actually a hybrid of two other species of tree: T.standishi and T. plicata.
Emerald Green Thujas
The Emerald Green Thuja comes in a variety of sizes, and it is often smaller than its relative. Unlike the Thuja Green Giant, the Emerald Green Thuja has a moderate growth rate of between of between 2 and 3 feet a year. The Emerald Green Thuja can easily remain a small hedge, usually reaching between 8 and 12 feet in height.
Drought tolerant, disease resistant, and cold weather hardy, Emerald Green Thujas should be planted about 3 feet apart in a single row in order to create a privacy screen. A smaller specimen, these Thujas can be planted close to buildings and fences. Emerald Green Thujas will grow uniformly, and no pruning is needed.
Benefits of Thuja Trees
Thuja Trees are beneficial for a variety of reasons, including:
Thuja trees are an easy-to-manage barrier tree. Drought tolerant, disease resistant, and pest resistant, Thujas are a perfect option for beginning landscapers. Deer are not fond of the tree and will not eat them. Although Thuja “Green Giants” are the bestsellers in the Thuja family, both species provide secure privacy for homeowners. Neither tree requires much, if any, pruning and trimming.
Thuja Trees are easy to grow and adaptable to a variety of soil and water conditions. Furthermore, they are resistant to disease and pests. Simply follow the directions above to ensure successful growth and the tree should do the rest.