Thujas come in three sizes, small, medium or giant. Of Asian and American origin, this plant has existed in France for centuries. Placed in the category of coniferous plants, it easily withstands periods of frost and its maintenance is minimal in comparison to its appearance. The best time for planting is in late spring for it to reach an acceptable height by winter. 

Easy to maintain, thuja is ideal for creating a resistant hedge wall. It can be planted by using seeds or cuttings, both of which can be found in supermarkets or nurseries. The cuttings are planted in August and the seeds are sown in April. The months for planting slightly vary depending on the selected species. There are three main species: the Chinese Arborvitae that does not exceed 30 feet, the Western Redcedar that reaches 165 feet and the Northern Whitecedar that averages a height of 65 feet. One advantage of thuja is that its leaves remain green regardless of the season, only taking on a darker hue during winter periods.

How to plant thuja 

Thuja can accommodate itself to any type of land, which is precisely one of its great strengths, although the addition of compost during the first year of growth is recommended. Its foliage is renewed every 4 years though aggressive pruning allows for a renewal every 3 years. Dead wood and leaves favour the appearance of fungi. Susceptible to parasitic invasion, thuja is a plant that requires lots of space. Thus, seedlings should be planted at least 3 feet apart and the planting location must be thoroughly cleaned beforehand. Given that it reaches a minimum height of 30 feet, it is also important to anticipate on what its future size will be. Since thuja can grow in any condition, its loam will be created from local components. Nonetheless, its growth will not be optimal if the land is too rocky. Thanks to its versatility, this tree is very popular and can be planted in groups to form a solid, decorative hedge or by itself like the Western Redcedar which is ideal for isolated plantations. We can then use it to create a great garden path, especially on large estates. Smaller thujas are suitable for decks, but their container must be large enough for the roots to develop. Frequent cutting is not recommended for this species as it will hurt its aesthetic, which is one of its main features.

Maintaining thuja 

Because of its soft wood, insects are thuja’s main enemy. It is also susceptible and vulnerable to fungi invasion, which is why insecticides should be used at regular intervals. There are two ways to prune thuja: the first is to do it every six months to take care of its aesthetics. In this case, the conical shape, which gives a very nice effect, is recommended. But it can also be pruned several times a year to clear debris from its bottom. The latter option will be chosen if one realizes that the foliage is too dense and that aesthetics is no longer optimal. Indeed, new shoots grow faster and the external appearance will always be green, but there will be dark shades as well because of the inside branches growing at different rates. These internal branches will thus need to be freed in order to obtain a clear and homogeneous appearance. Watering a thuja is seasonal and frequent sprinkling in summer is recommended because the thuja needs a moist soil. However, too much water could suffocate it. Besides, a high moisture environment encourages insect proliferation. This water saturation is made apparent by irregular colours in the foliage. Thus, yellow and green leaves present on the same branch are a sign of water saturation and watering will need to be reduced until the thuja regains its normal appearance.

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Published in Hedges by Alexander on 04 Jul 2011