When to plant thuja

Open-rooted plants – those sold with “bare” roots wrapped in a cloth or bag – are planted in April. So the thuja will have enough time to settle down in a new place before the onset of winter.

Trees with a closed root system are sold in pots or containers filled with earth. Such thujas do not stop their development and are not injured during transplantation. They can be planted from early spring, when the soil thaws, and until mid-autumn – 3-4 weeks before the arrival of frost.

How to choose a seedling

Go for thujas to nurseries or garden centers: this way you will be sure of the quality of the seedling and its compliance with the specified variety.

Decide on a variety

You can make tall hedges from thuja, create small “fences” along garden paths, or simply plant one by one. Depending on the variety, the bushes have their own characteristics – they differ in height, splendor, shape and growth rate. If you want your landscape ideas to come true in the best possible way, consider these nuances.

Thuja
Thuja “Smaragd”. Photo: Irina Borsuchenko / Shutterstock

For example, for a hedge, choose tall arborvitae. “Smaragd” in 10 years can reach a height of 2.5 m and a crown diameter of 2 m. This variety is unpretentious and is often used in landscape design. The plant has a cone shape, which can be changed with a haircut.

Thuja
Thuja “Holmstrup”. Photo: Deyana Stefanova Robova / YouTube

The thuja “Holmstrup” also has a natural conical shape, but the crown is denser and more lush. In 10 years, it reaches a diameter of about 0.6 m. During the same time, the tree stretches to a height of up to 1.5 m.

Globular thuja
Spherical thuja. Photo: Deyana Stefanova Robova / Shutterstock

For lower hedges or planting along garden paths, globular arborvitae are suitable. These are dwarf varieties that, even in decades, will not become higher than 1–2 m. They are compact, thick “balls” that can be given any shape. The most common varieties, well adapted to life in most regions, are Danica, Hoseri and Woodward.

Tui on the stem
Tui on the stem. Frame: GardenMan/YouTube

Another interesting option for decorating a garden is a standard form. On a long bare trunk, a “cap” from any variety of arborvitae can be grafted. Such an unusual tree looks good both separately and in a composition of several plants.

Pay attention to the quality of the seedling

First of all, consider the needles: it should be a rich green color without red spots or dry twigs. Even if outwardly the thuja looks pretty decent, push the crown with your hands, look inside and make sure that the needles are also alive there. The bark on the trunk of a healthy seedling is smooth, without cracks or spots.

How to plant thuja: pay attention to the quality of the seedling
On the left is a healthy seedling with green needles. On the right is a poor-quality seedling. Frame: Greener – about garden plants / YouTube

When buying an open root option, take it out of the package and make sure that the roots are well developed, not dried out, without traces of rot and mold, and their volume is almost the same as the diameter of the crown.

Well developed thuja root system
Well developed thuja root system. Frame: Clan of flower girls / YouTube

Take the thuja with a closed root system by the base of the trunk and gently shake it from side to side – it should sit tightly in the pot and not dangle.

How to prepare a place for planting thuja

You can settle a tree in a flower bed or plant a few pieces to hide from neighbors.

Decide on a landing site

Find a place protected from direct sunlight during the midday hours. Make sure that there are no drafts in this area, and that there are no puddles in the spring and after the rains.

To the composition of the soil, thuja, in general, is not demanding. Unless she really likes heavy clay soils. But even in such soil, you can plant a thuja if you properly prepare a hole for a seedling.

Make a landing hole

Its depth should be 15–20 cm more than the length of the seedling and 30–40 cm wider than the diameter of its root system. When forming a row of several plants, consider how widely the crown will develop depending on the variety. The distance between the holes can be from 1 to 5 m.

How to plant thuja: make a landing hole
Lay a drainage layer at the bottom of the pit. Frame: Unpretentious garden / YouTube

Put river sand, expanded clay, broken brick or small gravel in a layer of 10–15 cm at the bottom of the planting pit – such drainage will remove excess moisture from the roots.

How to plant thuja

Even an inexperienced gardener can do this.

Prepare the ground

It will be needed to plant the thuja in the hole made. Take two parts of garden soil (the one left after digging a hole is also suitable), one part of dry river sand and one part of dry peat. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Pour about 5 cm of the resulting soil into the bottom of the recess.

plant a seedling

Carefully remove the tree from the container or remove the bag from the seedling with an open root system. Place the plant in the hole so that the root collar – the junction of the trunk and roots – is flush with the soil surface. If necessary, add soil to the bottom of the hole or, conversely, remove the excess.

How to plant a thuja: place the plant in a hole
Frame: Unpretentious garden / YouTube

Fill all voids around the seedling with prepared soil to about the middle of the hole. Compact the surface well with your hands.

How to plant a thuja: fill all the voids around the seedling with prepared soil to about the middle of the pit
Frame: Unpretentious garden / YouTube

Pour 10 liters of water into the planting hole and wait until it is completely absorbed.

How to plant a thuja: pour 10 liters of water into the planting hole and wait until it is completely absorbed
Frame: Unpretentious garden / YouTube

Fill the hole with soil to the top. Seal the surface with the palm of your hand.

How to plant a thuja: fill the hole with soil to the top and compact the surface with your palm
Frame: Unpretentious garden / YouTube

How to care for thuja

A coniferous plant will not take much of your time.

Water the thuja

Watering begins in early spring, when the soil thaws and the air temperature becomes consistently positive. They finish in late autumn – with the advent of frost. Moisten the soil once a week by pouring at least 10 liters of water under the root of each tree. In wet weather, the next watering can be skipped.

Thujas are also very fond of sprinkling – spraying the crown with water from a hose with a diffuser nozzle. Such a “shower” washes away dust from the needles and saturates it with moisture. The procedure is carried out as an addition to watering. Spray thuja in the evening, after sunset, so that water drops combined with sunlight do not burn the needles. Of course, when it rains, there is no point in doing this, but in dry weather, the procedure is appropriate at least every day.

Feed the thuja

The first feeding is carried out six months after planting. If you have identified a thuja in a permanent place in the spring, fertilize in the fall, and vice versa. The next top dressing is carried out every year in the spring, when the snow melts and the soil thaws. You can use special fertilizers for coniferous plants or superphosphate. Consumption rates and method of application depend on the manufacturer and are indicated in the instructions on the package.

Trim the thuja

Trim the thuja
Frame: Everyone can do it! / Youtube

After 2-3 years after planting, you can begin to give the trees a certain shape or simply keep them in a well-groomed form. Haircut is carried out twice: in April-May and August. To do this, use a sharp pruner, garden shears or an electric trimmer. Trim the thuja around the perimeter and cut off the crown – this will only make it thicker and more magnificent. Remember that at one time you can remove no more than a third of the crown.

But sanitary pruning is carried out throughout the season. Periodically inspect the thuja and remove brown needles and dry branches.

Cover the thuja for the winter

Cover the thuja for the winter
Frame: School of Olga Krasulina / YouTube

Mature trees survive the winter well without additional measures. But young thuja in the first two years after planting need shelter. In autumn, when the air temperature begins to drop below 4 ° C, wrap the crowns from top to bottom with agrofiber or burlap in two or three layers and secure the protection with a rope along the entire height of the plant. In the spring, when the snow has completely melted, the protection can be removed.