Arborvitae Green Giant

mombay(6)January 11, 2008

We are interested in planting a tall "privacy fence" on the edge of a farm. It has been suggested that we plant a "wall" of Arborvitae Green Giant. They claim it grows to 50 feet tall and is capable of growing three feet a year. They say it requires no pruning.

This sounds like it's too good to be true. Is there a down side to this tree? How long does it live?

What else should I know?

What would be the tree suggestion for the "fence" in a deep shade location. It must be an evergreen,

Thanks in advance for your help.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

contact your local soil conservation district.. in the white pages .. under USGVMT ....

they are experts specifically in hedge rows for farms .... having the expertise for your locality .. AND SELLING THE PLANTS AT GREATLY REDUCED PRICES ..... small but cheap plants ....

in my zone 5.. i just got their mailer for this springs sale yesterday .... your zone 6 might be a week or two earlier .... for me.. the order deadline is 3/15 for 4/11 delivery .... so you have a little time ....

unless you are independently wealthy .. i can't fathom paying retail to line out a farm ....

as for green giants.... you know the old saying.. if it sounds to good to be true... it probably is .... how fast a tree can grow .. in a greenhouse under perfect conditions.. may or may not be what they can do out on the farm ...

yes they are aggressive.... yes in perfect conditions... after maturity ... they grow like weeds .... but that can take years ...

i started with 6 inch plants in 2 inch peat pots ... in pure sand .... with irrigation for the first 2 years... then in drought the third... and it took about 4 years to finally get two feet of growth per year .... others have claimed that starting with larger plants.. they can cut maturity issues .... if you try the search function near the top of the page.. you may find a couple hundred posts on GG's ... see what others have to say about them ...

BTWay ..... the soil consv dstrct .... will even sell you the planting bar for large projects .... and the deer/rabbit goo to fend them off ...

PLEASE do call them ... you pay your taxes.. you may as well access some gvmt program ...

good luck


PS: think diversity in a hedge row... if you plant one type of plant.. and some plague comes along.. you can lose it all ... my district does NOT sell GG's specifically ... but do offer a native arborvitae ... but also a slew of other conifers and trees and shrubs for such application .. including food plants for wildlife .. flowering trees .... etc ...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 8:56AM
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I think they'll do ok in shade althought sun is preferred. I've seen plantings here at GardenWeb of folks with very healthy and robust Green Giants in woodland shade. It's a good clone, very resistant to pests and it does produce the large growth noted so you can count on that.

Plant them 6 feet apart for a dense fast screen or further for less narrow specimens. I say you're good to go.

There's a million people selling these. Small is good, but, be attentive to watering. That's what does these in.

They will outlive you so don't be concerened.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:21AM
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"Is there a down side to this tree?"

Two things to note:
1. It won't grow fast or dense in shade; and not at all in deep shade.
2. Deer like them even more than people do.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 11:49AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

For introducer's (pdf format) description...

Here is a link that might be useful: The U.S. National Arboretum presents Thuja 'Green Giant', a large, evergreen sentinel in the landscape

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 12:35AM
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Oh no, so deer like them. That's the rub! We have quite a few deer around. Maybe we'll have to go with another tree for screening. ANY SUGGESTIONS???

By the way, thanks for all the responces.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Speaking of rubbing, they may do that to trees they don't eat, so the specimen is still damaged even if not ingested. Security comes from effectively fencing them out, otherwise you are left with gambling on variables including how well the deer are faring in a given year - plants may be left alone for a long time and then attacked during a hard winter.

If you search the forms you can find lots of related discussion.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 12:40PM
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Pertinent to the very thing bboy is saying, weren't GG's touted as deer-proof" earlier in their history? Apparently, the deer were not informed of this!


    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 4:45PM
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Grancru(z5 MI)

I have plenty of seed if you would like some. They germinate very easily! A little light, medium and moisture...pow! Just let me know.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 8:03PM
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'Green Giant' is a hybrid, so won't breed true from seed! You might get some nice plants, but they will not all have the same characteristics.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:37AM
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For deep shade, isn't Magnolia Grandiflora a good choice for a privacy screen in shade? I don't know how they do in zone 6, but down here, they are are the common plant for privacy plantings. I think there are some varieties suitable for "zone pushing." There are some threads on gardenweb that discuss the success of different varieties of M. grandiflora raised northward. Resist the temptation to trim off the lowest limbs on magnolias!

Whatever plant you choose, if you have the room, site your plants in a zig-zag fashion rather than a straight line. The straight line just never looks natural of course, and fails as a formal planting as well, because the trees never grow evenly.

Maybe the experts will chime in on whether M. grandiflora is a good idea for a zone six privacy screening in shade. If not, maybe some holly varieties?

I know they're not conifers...


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 7:42AM
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If one were to sow seed of Thuja plicata x standishii
would the plants turn out to be back crosses?


In your collection do you have other Thujas? if you have
T plicata you might get a back cross however you might have
T koraiensis or T occidentalis.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i did NOT notice your shade statement ....

GG will not grow 6 feet per year in full sun .. except in a greenhouse ....

take away sun ... or limit it .... and your growth rate will be variable in all aspects ...

exactly what that means .... in your yard.. in your soil.. in your circs... is unknown.. until you try them ...

no matter what you do.. diversify ....

and please contact the soil conservation district . they sell shade plants.. and drought resistant plants.. and perhaps deer resistant plants .. [there is no such thing.. but they have preferences..... ]for your setting ....


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:27PM
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A bit OT, but anyone else ever notice the prolific seed germination of Thuja? I've got two large old T. occidentalis in my front yard. There is also a flat rock walkway I built years ago in this area. Between the rocks I have limestone screenings. The seeds land in this stuff and sprout like mad. We also keep lots of house plants, tropicals, cacti, etc on the porch out there all summer. Every autumn, when these plants are brought back inside, they are teeming with new arbor vitae sprouts. Seeing the ease with which this plant is able to regenerate itself, it's all the more pitiful what our overabundant deer herd is doing in the way of gradually eliminating this species from our woodlands.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:25PM
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What about Thuja plicata...? Is it more deer resistant? May not grow absurdly fast but probably fast enough and look more attractive to me than 'Green Giant'.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 11:01PM
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Some claim it is more deer-resistant, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence for the claim; deer vary a lot in what they like to eat most both from place to place and from one year to the next, so it is not effectively measurable.

Thuja plicata grows faster than 'Green Giant', but is less heat-tolerant (Thuja standishii, the other parent of 'Green Giant', is more so), so options for growing Thuja plicata are a bit more limited in some regions (primarily the eastern USA).

"anyone else ever notice the prolific seed germination of Thuja?"

Over here, Thuja plicata regenerates fairly well if given the opportunity (no grazing, mowing or cultivation, and no dense weed competition), but I've never seen T. occidentalis self-sow here.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 11:52AM
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I live in NC on a 1/4 acre lot in a subdivsion. I am ready to go by 8 or 10 green giants for privacy along the fence in our yard. However, i am concerned about these trees getting out of hand. Would they be suitable in my situation where i could trim them back once they reach 10 or 12 feet high?? OR should i consider another tree and if so, what should i go with that would be drought/clay tolerant?? Thanks so much!!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 4:52PM
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No use choosing an especially tall-growing tree when you want 10 or 12 feet. Research other arborviatae cultivars. There are many, and some will do exactly what you want. All arbs handle clay, and once established, are reasonably drought tolerant.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 8:45PM
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