Giant Green Thujas

armstrrMay 8, 2008

hi. i'm not sure if this is the proper forum to post this in, so if it is the wrong one, i'ld be happy to move it...just point me in the right direction.

i have purchased 60 giant green thujas from SC. they will be planted in sarnia, ontario, which is right across from port huron, michigan. from literature, this is zone 6, so i should be ok here.

i got the plants a few days ago. they are all about 12" in height and appear to have well develped roots they were in tiny small plastic containers approx 2.5"x2.5x2.5.

these are to be placed along our back yard (187') exposure to a 2 lane "highway".

currently there is a berm built up along part of the back. it is about 3' higher than the rest of the yard and it runs for about 100' of the back yard. i don't know why it was not continued when the house was built, but i either want to level the berm or build up the other 80' to match.

along this berm there are currently several long needle pine trees in various stages of overgrowth.

my plan is to remove them and plant the thujas to make a solid, uniform (and hopefully attractive) privacy screen.

i cant afford to get earth moving equipment yet, so i bought the smaller plants with the plan to pot them and then in a year or 2 when they are larger and more established, plant them in their permanent home.

i purchased 3 gallon grower's bags. i got some topsoil delivered and started to "pot" the trees. i filled the bags a little more than 2/3rds of the way, compacted it with my fist, dug a hole about 1.5 times the width of the root ball, soaked the rootball well (these were grown in some sort of bark medium)i did my best to just barely cover the existing rootball. i then compacted the soil around the roots and watered. the soil seemed of reasonable quality, but when i watered, the water pools up quite a bit and takes some time to soak in. the topsoil ended up rather "mucky"

so my 1st question is: did i choose the wrong growing media? i read that these trees like well drained soils. i have too much time and effort tied up in this to mess it up. i have just over 1/2 of the trees potted and am willing to "repot" the others if i should have mixed in some sand or used some other potting mix.

while i have your attention (thanks for reading and giving me pointers, btw!!) when late fall comes, should i move these into an unheated shed or garage?

also is there any type of fertilizer i should add at any point before i permanantly plant them? i understand they require deep watering for the 1st year or so when the soil begins to dry.

any other advice to help me succeed is appreciated!

thanks again,

robb

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rhiannonwilson

Transporting plants cross country can be very sticky. Even though the specific plants you received didn't "grow up" in SC, they are genetically adapted to that area. That being said, I don't know what differences in environmental conditions you're facing, but consider them and try to slowly acclimate them to their new environment.
As far as the potting media is concerned, I would definitely consider repotting. I would consider using a perlite, compost, soil pep mixture. This would ensure good drainage and good microbial activity in the "soil." Also, don't compact the media too much or you'll extinguish any chance of the roots receiving oxygen, a critical element to plant growth.
Arborvitaes can easily dessicate in the winter if not protected (i.e. north side planting). Being that they are conifers, my gut says don't put them in a garage to overwinter. Is it possible for you to chip in or bury the roots for the winter? I know it sounds like a lot of work, but the root system shouldn't be exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations.
As far as fertilizing goes, you could maybe use a slow release 10-10-10 or 16-16-16 next spring, once the plants have established in their pots.
Good luck, that's quite the task you've taken on!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:51PM
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armstrr

well, so far so good. i ended up placing them in 3 gallon planting bags and did my best to keep them watered. i placed them about 1 foot apart in a tripple row until about 2 weeks ago when they were planted. i did not cover or protect them through the rather severe winter we just had, and they have come through beautifully. Most are well over 2' now, a few probably 2.5'.

i planted in a double row about 8' on center. i am in the midst of laying landscape fabric and mulching an area 180' x 15'....darn, its a lot of work!

i found a company that specializes in installing ceader windbreaks and they strongly recommended a drip system for watering. their advice was if the budget is tight, get smaller plants, but GET some sort of watering system.

I followed that advice and ran a 500' 1/2" poly line with 1/4" rubber hose t'd off and terminated with 1 gallon/hour emmitters. i also put an inline fertilizer tank where i can put watersoluble (or liquid) fertilizer. i have it set for a very low dilution since it is basically constant fertilizer. the trees seem to like this arrangement, their colour has greatly improved and i am seeing some good grotwth. currently i'm using a 20 20 20 fertilizer. would their be a better choice for giant greens?

now, since i am watering directly at the root, how much water should i give them considering a dry spell with temps in the mid to high 80s. i have a 7 day timer with up to 4 cycles/day. any advice on the amount of water is greatly appreciated. the soil is very sandy loam...good to excessive drainage

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 10:40AM
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