Thuja Steeplechase

tgroussJanuary 12, 2007


I need help. I live on a corner .40 acre lot and due to zoning requirements, i cannot have a full size fence so we have a 4 foot high white vinyl fence. however, you can see directly into our backyard from the sidewalk & side street. I am considering planting a row of the thuja Steeplechase along the side of the fence as well as in front of the fence parellel to the front of the house. I am worried at their eventual size. I do not want them to grow so large that we will need to rip them out in 10 years. Does anyone any advice on how large they will get, I have read anywhere from 25 to 50 feet.

I think that 25 feet would probably be okay, because that would be about the same height as the house, but if they grow too much taller i am afraid that it will be overkill for a .40 acre lot in a neighborhood with sidewalks, etc. I would like something that grows quick (at least to 10 feet)and is narrow. Are there any smaller alternatives to the Thuja Steeplechase? I live in New Jersey. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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That's the price you pay for a speedy screen. If there are no power lines above, forget about it. Space them for 25 foot heights and the rest will grow together for a great screen but taller (eventually).


    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 9:52AM
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What is the optimal spacing? I was reading between 6 and 10 feet. I was figuring i would space about 7 or 8 feet apart and about 4 foot off the fence line. We have underground utilities so i don't need to worry about powerlines.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 10:36AM
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Sounds good - I recall the tree for sure but don't know off hand, its growth size dimensions. Probably perfect for screening but as a specimen in the landscape, I seem to recall this is a wide and tall growing cultivar. My memory jogs me though..


    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 11:48AM
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I am afraid that it may get too large for the landscape (it's similar to the Thuja Green Giant.

Do you have any recommendations for a privacy screen. Ideally i am looking for something farily quick growing and evergreen. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 2:14PM
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Probably difficult to find but Thuja occidentalis 'Hetz Wintergreen'. It's the perfect screener outside of the common 'Smargd'/'Emerald'/'Emerald Green' - however it is rarely seen, even in the specialty conifers market.

There's a lot of other stuff out there though.

Thuja occidentalis:
'Degroot's' / 'Degroot's Spire' / 'Degroot's Emerald Spire'
'Sherwood Plumespire'
'Holmstrup' (not all that fast)
'Pyramidalis' / 'Columnaris'
'Sherwood Frost' (real nice, but not very fast - great form)

Thuja plicata:


    Bookmark   January 13, 2007 at 2:46PM
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I checked out some of your picks...The Hetz Wintergreen looks perfect but do you have any idea where i might find them (obviously i will check out local nurseries). I get the catalog for Wayside Gardens and it doesn't look like they have the Hetz Wintergreen.

They did have the Degroot's Spire in there. That looks pretty nice, but it says that it turn a 'rich bronze' color in the winter, which i am taking to mean it gets brown. Does the Hetz Wintergreen brown up in the winter?

I am still checking out what i can do for the area. My main goal is year round privacy which basically limits the options to an evergreen privacy hedge/screen.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 9:27AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

I am looking out my window right now and Degroot Spire is green. If you were to walk up to it, you could detect some bronze tint compared to summer color. Be warned, if you only allow one leader to grow, it will be extremely narrow. At 10ft, mine is only 18" wide.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 11:53AM
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I was worried that it would be narrow, and we have about 70 liner feet that we need to screen (45 of it is on the side street and about 25 feet is parallel to the front of our house which will screen the yard from the street our house fronts on. At a 1.5 to 2 foot width, we would need about 35 to 40 trees. YIKES, i am sure that would run quite a bit.

I am researching a boxwood variety called Buxus 'Green Towner' it says they grow to a height of 5 to 9 feet and a width of 2 or 3. I have never heard of them before, they claim the growth rate is about 1 foot a year until it reached its maturity.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 12:06PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

'Smaragd' is the cultivar name for that one, emerald and emerald green being translations.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 1:54PM
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That's interesting, I thought boxwoods were pretty slow growers. I will have to check out that Buxus 'Green Towner' myself! I did read somewhere that the Steeplechase thujas grow pretty quickly though. I guess it all depends on how long you want to wait to have privacy.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 2:56PM
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'Hetz Wintergreen' does stay green in the harshest winters.

Talking about 'Degroot's' the foliage is part of the standout for this cultivar. Sort of Hinoki-cypress like in my opinion. And there's certainly nothing wrong with using these for a screen. I know someone with 70 of them if interested.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 3:05PM
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TO: hibiscusfreak.......Regarding the Bowood.....It's the BUXUS 'GREEN TOWER'. I spelled it wrong, which would make it impossible to find.

Dax-Do you know of anyone that caries the 'Hetz Wintegreen'. Of everything that was suggessted, these are my favorite. They seem like the perfect variety for what i am looking for, however i have been searching and i cannot find anyone who stocks them.

The Thuja Steeplechase is still in the running, if anyone is famililar with the 'Green Giant', the Steeplechase is supposed to be very simialar,but with a superior growth pattern. Both are rumored to grow 3+ feet per year.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 4:36PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Don't count on that 3 feet per year. Also keep in mind that fast growth is loose and open growth.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2007 at 4:42PM
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Nope, no 'Hetz Wintergreen' to be found. I'd choose something else to be honest... you'll never find them I'm afraid. Believe me, if I knew of a source or even one that periodically carries these, I'd of mentioned it from the beginning. My other source however, for 'Degroot's' is a good one though. One-gallon plants for roughly 5 bucks each with shipping. It would be a very erect look so to speak, but again, we are creators of landscapes and certainly they all shouldn't conform to "certain plants only."
Again and like always, all I have are photos but I've posted them so many times, it seems irrelevant to post them once more.

Good luck -


P.s. Thuja plicata 'Atrovirens' sure looks like a great plant. I came across a nursery with these looking for the dimensions of Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra'. I'd definitely consider these.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 10:57AM
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Here is a link to a mail order supplier of 'Hetz Wintergreen' Thuja (Listed as Thuja occidentalis 'Wintergreen' in the listing). This place sends very nice plants and the plants are VERY reasonable (2.50 each plus shipping).

'Hetz Wintergreen' grows fast so there is no reason to plant large plants. You will need to protect the plants from bunnies for the first few years, however.
Good luck,

Here is a link that might be useful: Reeseville Ridge Nursery

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 1:22PM
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Hey Dax-
Can you please post some of your pics of the Degroot's Spire? Also, how large is a 1 gallon plant? Thanks for all of your help.

I am also checking out the site with the Hetz Wintergreen.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 3:26PM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

This is my Degroot Spire trimmed to a single leader at one foot tall, and left to grow as it pleases. Most have multiple leaders and a correspondingly wider girth. Please excuse the terrible photography.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 6:05PM
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WOW.....That is way too narrow i think. I would need about 60 of them. I think i may go with the thuja steeplechase and if they grow too tall, i will get them trimmed. At least i will have 10 years to worry about it.

I spoke with Reesville Ridge Nursery about the hetz wintergreen and they are sold out for 2007 already....i guess they are in high demand.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 8:42PM
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I like your 'DeGroot's Spire'! I am debating between that one and a Thuja Occidentalis 'Malonyana' (assuming I could find one). I want something thin and tall. Do you have a recommendation?

How old is your 'DeGroot's' and how tall is it?


    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 5:27PM
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Tgrouss, you're sure not hurtin for good ideas, but another way I've approached this landscape need, if the screening needed is for when you guys are seated or playing on the ground in your backyard, is with plain old Thuja o. "Woodward Globe". Planted four or five feet apart, in full sun, they'll quickly get up to the five and six foot height range and completely grow together. At least that has been how it worked for me a few times.

They screen pretty much all activity yet for a few years, adults can walk up to the row and see over it. No pruning necessary or desirable with these. Just another idea.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 9:56PM
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What Thuja did you purchase, if any?

I have a screen of 'Hetz Wintergreen' and they are nice and green all year, with no bronzing in the winter. Fairly fast growing, too. Just remember that anything that grows fast does not slow down when it gets to a certain height i.e. 10'.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 10:26PM
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