Thuja Occidentalis and Thuja Plicata
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Different species of Thuja
We have five different species of Thuja. Our collection includes the Thuja Occidentalis ‘Brabant’, Thuja Occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ (also called ‘Emerald’), Thuja Plicata ‘Atrovirens’, Thuja Plicata ‘Martin’ and the Thuja Plicata ‘Excelsa’.
Thuja Occidentalis ‘Brabant’ is a great choice for a hedge or screen. This evergreen hedge makes a thick, pyramid shape. Its green fresh leaves remain fresh all year round and it is at its brightest during spring when new growth starts. It also produces fresh growth green new flowers. The plant makes a beautiful addition or specimen to a mixed border. It grows well in full sun or part shade, and most soils.
Thuja Occidentalis ‘Emerald’ is an evergreen, narrow, pyramidal hedge tree with dense foliage that maintains its color throughout the year. Grows well in humidity and heat, and tolerates dry spells. It is one of the most effective and popular shrubs for tall hedge use or screening and makes a great foundation plant.
Thuja Plicata ‘Atrovirens’ is a good choice for a fast growing hedge. Its leaves have a nice pineapple scent when crushed or after rain. The deep green leaves make an excellent background to borders, but they require some maintenance. It grows well in sun or part shade and most garden soils.
Growing a Thuja Hedge
Thuja plants have all the features you need to create a beautiful hedge. Here are a few reasons why you should grow a Thuja hedge:
- Thuja grows well in all types of soils, whether it is loamy, clayey, or sandy. It is also drought tolerant
- All Thuja species grow fast, which is an advantage for people who are trying to grow a windbreak or privacy hedge. It is important that you know the mature size of the species before planting to create enough space between plants when they mature
- Thuja plant remains evergreen throughout the year. This makes a great habitat for local wildlife and a point of interest in your landscape.
- Aside from giving your landscape a finished look, Thuja plants are also inexpensive when compared to other shrubs.
When you’ve finally made the decision to grow the Thuja plant, timing is very important. Plants are grown in pots these days, making it possible to plant any season. Nevertheless, there are good seasons and not-so-good seasons to plant. Summer, with its dryness and heat, is probably the worst time to plant as you will need to water the plant constantly and root growth will be minimal. However, the plants can be grown in pots and delivered during summer. Regarding the best time to plant, there is no doubt that it’s in spring and autumn because the soil is moist and warm. The plants are delivered with clod and grown on the ground.
So, how do you plant a Thuja?
- Dig planting trenches about 1.5 times the size of the root ball and about 3 to 4 cm more than the height of the clod. Then add about two inches of soil at the bottom.
- Place about two inches of compost manure in the trench and mix it with soil
- Place the plant in the trench and adjust so it sits straight upright and looks balanced. Add more compost to reach the desired height.
- Use the removed soil to fill the trench about three fourths and add one-half compost to improve drainage. Then fill the rest of trench with water.
- Give the water some time to drain and the soil to settle before filling the rest of the trench with compost and soil.
- Spread a small layer of mulch over the trench and pull the mulch about two inches away from the trunk of the tree to avoid rot
- Water the plant every week for the first two months. Thuja dries out quickly and needs to be watered to establish. We give advice about watering at delivery of the plants.
For a beautiful hedge, it is recommended that you plant 2 to 3 plants after every 3.28ft. This is important in ensuring the plant’s natural shape.
For the plants to grow well, they must be planted as soon as they arrive. Otherwise, they will dry.
If plants are not planted immediately, they should be taken off the pallet, put in the shadow and water the clod
Thuja does not grow well when planted under other trees; therefore, make sure that you plant them where there is enough light from the sun. When planted under big trees and water drips from those trees, the Thuja plant won’t get that beautiful look you want to see.
It is also easy to maintain these plants. Only cut the leaves. Cutting wood would be damaging the plant because new branches won’t grow.
Leave the planter to rot away in soil. For plants that come in a pot, you will need to remove the planter
Care & Advice
- Find the right planting location for the Thuja tree based on its growing requirements. Choose a partially shaded or full sun location where the plant can receive more than six hours of direct sunlight every day. Remove any debris and vegetation in the area before planting
- Water the Thuja plant regularly to keep its soil moist. Frequent watering is important especially for young Thuja trees that are struggling to grow in a new location. Use a drip or bubbler hose to ensure that the moisture reaches the roots.
- Fertilize the plant three times a year to ensure that it is receiving enough nutrients. Apply a specially formulated evergreen fertilizer. Use a half-strength dilution fertilizer during the first year of growth. After this period, apply fertilizer according to the instructions from the manufacturer.
- Trim the damaged, diseased or discolored foliage from the plant. Also prune regularly to maintain the shape.
- Prune in early winter or fall. Avoid pruning in the summer as doing so may turn the tips of the pruned branches brown
- Don’t cut more than a quarter of the plant’s crown in a season
- Bagworms are attracted to Thuja plants but can be controlled with the use of a biological pesticide or removed by hand during winter
Treating common Thuja diseases
The Thuja plant can develop diseases that can be treated effectively and quickly for the tree to survive. Here are common Thuja diseases that can be treated:
Fungal diseases-These diseases include root rot, canker, vascular wilt and foliar/shoot. The only way to treat these diseases is by using the appropriate fungicide. Make sure that you use the fungicide as directed.
Sunscald diseases-This problem can cause injury and death of a Thuja plant. To prevent this disease from affecting your Thuja plant, wrap the barks of the plant during winter.
Drying up-This is a common problem associated with the Thuja. Although many people handle this situation by pruning the affected area, treatment could be more effective if yucca extract is sprayed on the tree.
Leafminer-This problem is caused by a worm, which eventually becomes an egg-laying moth. When the eggs are laid, they start eating the leaves, causing them to turn brown and die out. Spray acephate to control the larvae or use imidacloprid to drench the soil in early spring.
Pros and Cons of the Thuja
- Thuja plants tend to be naturally shaped into teardrops, cones or cylinders; therefore, little shaping or pruning is needed. Once the tree has probably established, it can live for decades
- Thuja plants grow very fast, at a rate of between 20 and40 cm per year, but it is important that you put into consideration the mature size of the plant when planting to ensure that there is enough space between the plants when they mature
- Although Thuja prefers moist soil, it can also grow well in other types of soil.
- Thuja plants come in different sizes and shape, with some growing up to 60ft. Some are oval or globe-shaped, whereas others are conical. You can also prune the Thuja in your yard to give it the shape you want
- They also make a great choice for a privacy hedge
- They are relatively disease-free and pest free
- While it is true that Thuja plants can grow easily under the ideal condition, they require supplemental watering if the summer is too dry or hot
- Thuja plants have an unusual texture which makes them appear unnatural when grown in some landscapes. Conditions such as weather and age may cause the plant to lose its shape
Thuja plants are very popular and the most common choice when it comes to growing a hedge. It has the ability to cope with diseases, pests, and soils, making it the perfect hedge plant. We sell affordable Thuja here at Hedge Plants Heijen. If you are looking for a Thuja plant or information about these species, we are here to help you. You can contact us via email or phone.