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The Most Winter-Hardy Thuas - Planting, Care, Pruning

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Thuas... The diversity of these magnificent evergreen conifers is appreciated not only by landscape designers and residents of elite country cottages, but also by ordinary gardeners. The use of thuja in the landscaping of plots seems limitless - it is both hedges as protective screens, and alleys of perfect green pyramids, and spectacular gardens with unimaginable evergreen forms, and just a single beautiful tree on the lawn ... With all these tasks the coniferous plant thuja copes. About the most popular thuja in our plots, the subtleties of planting and care for them will be discussed in this material.

The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, cutting

The most interesting species and varieties of thuja for the middle belt

Tuja evergreen - unpretentious fast growing coniferous plant - cannot be found in natural conditions in our country. The fact is that the homeland of these conifers of the cypress family - North America, and breeding and zoning in our country are engaged in various nurseries of ornamental and coniferous plants.

Not by chance the Thuja is called the "royal tree" - this stately beauty previously decorated only the alleys of royal palaces. Today, thuja is quite available to every amateur gardener, and many species and varieties of this plant are successfully used in the design of gardens, parks and lawns. Many, but not all. It is best to buy thuja from local producers, so that it is accurately zoned for growing in your climatic conditions. This is a guarantee of its successful wintering.

Breeders' efforts to date have created more than 120 all kinds of varieties of existing five species of Thuja. But, unfortunately, only those that cope well with our climatic conditions can be used in the middle belt. A description of the most interesting of them and, accordingly, the most popular, we present to your attention.

Tuja western "Brabant"

"Brabant" is one of the fastest growing Thuja. In our climatic conditions the height of an adult tree rarely exceeds 5 m, though in favorable conditions of mild climate it can reach 20 m. During one year shoots increase up to 30 cm in height and the diameter of needles increases by 15 cm. Its needles have beautiful bright green color, some species have golden tips.

Conus-shaped crown of Thuja Brabant with numerous branches preserves its ornamentality during the whole year. Sometimes the tree overgrows and does not look quite tidy. To prevent this from happening, the crown is pruned regularly. Pruning stimulates the formation of numerous new shoots and, as a result, the tree is covered with dense ("stuffed") needles. Timely pruning can easily correct the shape of the crown.

Thuja "Brabant" is good adaptability and unpretentious. Soils prefer well moistened, it is on them it shows all its beauty and splendor. It will withstand arid areas of soil as well, but then it is unlikely to impress the imagination with its appearance. Its crown is likely to thin, and its color will turn from green to yellowish. Therefore if planting willow in poor droughty places take care of regular watering. Western willow should be planted in semi-shade, in full sun the needles can get dehydrated by frost in winter and in summer strong temperature difference is not good for the plant. In the first years, young plants are covered for the winter with agrovolok, in one or two layers, depending on the thickness of the fabric. Growing thuas do not need to be covered.

Thuja "Brabant" is spectacular in any use. With shearing it can be given a strict, laconic shape and it will fit a regular garden style, or it can be "let loose", and the resulting 'Brabant Stem' will fit perfectly into a rustic landscape.

The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
Thuja occidentalis 'Brabant' (Thuja occidentalis 'Brabant'). © ebben

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' is an evergreen conifer with a regular cone shape. It can grow to 5-6 m tall by adding 10 cm annually. Smaragd is distinguished by its beautiful symmetric shape, which practically does not require pruning, and bright emerald needles. The surface of the needles is shiny, and when the tree is exposed to the sunlight, it shimmers, filling the space around it with a sense of celebration.

Thuja 'Smaragd' grows best in wind-protected places, in areas with fertile, moist soil. Frequent watering, spraying and obligatory soil mulching are required in dry summers. It likes sunny location, but in this case it will be necessary to cover it for winter: the sun and frost can dry out the needles. A good place for planting - shade in the midday hours.

"Smaragd" is the most frost-resistant thuja. It will withstand frost and in -40oC, but it needs to be protected from sunburns. That is why the first 2-3 years it must be covered for the winter.

Tuja "Smaragd" is one of the favorite plants of many designers. A small group of literally three plants will decorate and make stylish an ordinary lawn. Planted in a row of thuas will decorate an alley or separate the area. There is always a place for this beauty both in coniferous compositions, and in decorative and deciduous ones.

The rules of conifers use, including thuja, in landscape compositions read in the article Coniferous flower bed - rules of organization and choice of plants.

Thuja western "Golden Globe"

This original shrub of globe form. Its name in Russian sounds like that - Golden Globe. Very beautiful miniature coniferous plant. Size of an adult does not go beyond 80 cm in height and width. The shrub grows slowly and does not fully form until it is 10 years old. The effect is due to the needles, which are bright green with golden-yellow tips of the shoots. By autumn the golden color changes to copper, and in spring, with the beginning of growth, the shrub is gilded again.

Like other species of thuja, "Golden Globe" prefers moist nutritious soils, although it can withstand short-term drought. With a regular lack of water, the needles will lose their brightness, become sparse and unsightly. Location is very important for this variety - in full shadow the needles will not have a golden hue, and in full sun the shoots can burn. Therefore, when planting the "golden ball", it is necessary to find a golden mean. An openwork penumbra is the ideal place. Otherwise, this variety is similar to other western thuas - unpretentious, frost-resistant, responds well to pruning. Requires shade from the spring rays of the sun.

Tuja "Golden Globe" is one of those plants that always find a place. "Golden Globe" will decorate any design, whether it's a landscape of a plot in Rublevka or a cozy courtyard in Prostokvashino. Its value lies also in the fact that it is an ideal plant for creating a contrast in a living composition both in form and color.

Less common, but also growing and developing well in difficult climatic conditions, other varieties of Western Thuja:

  • Tuja Western "Sunkist" - cone-shaped shrub with golden needles. The height of an adult plant is 3 m, the diameter of needles is 1.5 m;
  • Thuja westernis "Reingold" - a slow-growing globular shrub with yellow-golden needles. The maximum size of 3 m in height and width;
  • Tuja western "Teddy" - spherical dwarf among all dwarfs. At 10 years of age the height of the bush can reach as much as 30 cm! Needle-shaped needles are soft dark-green in color, getting bronze shades by the autumn;
  • Thuja western "Holmstrup" - a slow growing tree of narrow pyramidal shape. The maximum height of 3.5 m, annual growth of 10-12 cm. Conifers dark green, dense;
  • Thuja western "Pyramidalis compacta" - Thuja with a talking name. Compact tree with a pyramidal shape. The height of an adult plant is 5 m. The coniferous green needles are somewhat brown in wintertime;
  • Western Thuja "Mr. Bowling Ball" - another type of dwarf spherical thuja. Due to the peculiar conifers with long tips, it looks like a prickly ball. The height of an adult plant is no more than 70 cm, width 1 m. It grows slowly, increasing the shoots by 5-10 cm per year.
The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'). © K M
The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Globe'. © Vladimir Green

Tuja folded 'Kan-kan'

Tuja 'Kan-kan' is an original evergreen coniferous plant. Despite its diminutiveness, and the adult tree does not exceed 1.5 m in height, it grows rather quickly. The Kang-Kang grows about 10 cm tall per year.

The tree's long shoots branch well, but are directed chaotically. Because of this feature, the young thuja does not look quite tidy, but with age, the growing shoots, compacting, give it a cone shape.

The needles of "Kang-kang" thuja are a rich green color and shiny. And another important feature: it does not change color in winter. At the beginning of summer it looks especially attractive thanks to the young growth of tender green color with golden tips.

Thuja "Can-can" grows well in the openwork shade on wet fertile soils. Greatly amenable to pruning, which is easily tolerated and quickly grows new needles. Easily copes with urban pollution, but poorly tolerates frost. The temperature below 28 degrees Celsius can affect it not in the best way - the shoots at such frosts frost. Therefore, winter sheltering is especially important for this variety, and it is necessary to cover both the tree and the soil around it. To do this, the tree nursery circle is covered for the winter with a thick layer of sawdust, straw or coniferous foliage. The tree itself is first wrapped with twine in a spiral, trying to press the branches to the trunk, and then covered with agrovolok or burlap. This measure prevents branches from falling apart during heavy snowfalls.

On how to properly prepare conifers for wintering, including thuas, read the material 7 conditions for successful wintering of conifers.

All described western thuas, as well as thuas folded "Can-can", unpretentious, undemanding to soils and weather conditions. With good care, they can withstand both strong frosts and hot dry periods, and are little affected by diseases and pests. All thuias respond well to shaping. Another thing is that not all need shaping. Each variety can be used in landscape design both as a single plant and in a group of other conifers or deciduous plants.

The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
Tuja plicata 'Can-can' (Thuja plicata 'Can-can'). © Erik
The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
In early summer, Thuja 'Can-can' looks particularly attractive because of its young golden growth. © GoldenPlants

Tips of planting Thuja

Tuja, like other conifers, is long-lived, and with proper care can decorate a plot for many years.

Tuja care begins with proper planting. There are no special requirements to the placement and other conditions, but to grow a beautiful healthy plant some conditions must be fulfilled all the same.

Tuja planting is not complicated and rather even pleasant. Seedlings with a closed root system are on sale - it is easy to plant such plants, and their survival rate is very high. When buying a seedling you should pay attention to its overall condition:

  • position of branches - uniform and symmetrical;
  • healthy needles - without dry or rusty areas;
  • slightly moist clod of soil.

Propagating thuja with closed root system can be in summer, but it is better not to delay and plant plants before the heat. All thuas like a bright location with light shade in the midday hours - so this is the place to choose. It is important to consider the size of the mature tree, as some varieties grow quite large. The distance between the plants depends on the purpose - if it is a hedge, the plants are planted in a meter from each other, in other cases - according to the conceived design.

The soil for thuja is preferable moist, but without stagnant water, so in the planting hole, especially on heavy clay soils or with a close location of groundwater, you need to lay drainage. If the site has good fertile soil, the planting process looks like this:

  • dig a hole of suitable size;
  • lay a layer of drainage, cover with sand, then - a layer of soil;
  • the plant is carefully pulled out of the pot, trying not to disturb the earth clod;
  • set the sapling in a hole so that the soil surface of the sapling was at the same level with the surface of the site;
  • pour the sapling with soil, water well and add soil to the settled places;
  • mulch the root circle with needles, cones, sawdust or peat.

If the soil on the site is sandy, it is necessary to prepare a special soil for thuja, as sand does not hold water well and such soil dries up quickly. Therefore, it is necessary to prepare a mixture of leaf soil, garden soil, peat and humus in the proportion 1:1:0,5:0,5.

For sites with heavy clay soil, sand and peat are added to the soil. In this case, dig a large hole - it should be twice or three times more than the root ball.

The most winter-hardy thuas - planting, care, pruning
To plant thuas with closed root system can also be in summer, but it is better not to delay and plant plants before the onset of heat

Precautions of care for thuas in the plot

Despite the unpretentiousness of thuas, plant and forget about it is impossible. Watering, feeding and pruning - all like any other plants. Upon detection of pests or diseases, and it also happens - fight the disease.

For more details about diseases and pests of coniferous plants, read the material Coniferous plant diseases and pests - prevention and control measures.

Watering and feeding

Pouring the thuja begins immediately after planting. The frequency of watering depends on the weather - in hot, dry weather, it may be necessary to carry out this procedure every other day. A thick layer of mulch will help to facilitate the task and significantly reduce watering. By the way, weeding and loosening the mulched soil is not needed. Water the thuja better in the evening, by sprinkling - it likes high air humidity.

After 2-3 weeks after planting, you can feed the thuja with a special mineral fertilizer for coniferous plants. If there is no such, you can take the usual complex fertilizer, but the concentration to do twice weaker than for fruit trees and bushes. Conifers do not need a lot of fertilizer, so during the growing season you can make only two fertilizers - in early summer and in the middle. In the second half of summer you can do without fertilizer or apply a nitrogen-free autumn fertilizer once.

Tuja pruning

Many species of thuja need regular pruning - some to give the desired shape, others - to restrain growth or correct the crown. These plants tolerate pruning well, quickly build up needles and transform literally before your eyes. There are a few simple rules to follow when pruning a Thuja:

  • Forming should be started in the first years and done regularly and little by little.
  • The best time is in early summer, when buds are opening, and in late summer.
  • Do not trim in wet weather - open cuts should dry as soon as possible.
  • Do not cut a branch more than 1/3 of the length.

Before you start trimming, you should study the plant and understand what the result should be. Start by removing dry and broken branches. Then remove or shorten any stray shoots. Sometimes it is necessary to thin the crown, do it gently and not in a hurry: cut - went away, looked and so on. The rule "Measure 7 times, cut once" is the main rule when pruning plants.

In order to restrain the growth of a thuja, shorten the conductor, and after its overgrowth correct the crown. To give the seedling the appearance of a pyramid, ball or spiral, preparation begins several years in advance. Immediately after planting, the thuja is pruned annually, achieving a dense crown - only from such a plant can form a figure.

Depending on the type of pruning, different tools are used - secateurs, garden shears and a universal shrub cutter. All tools must be sharp and clean. It is possible to disinfect the blades with hydrogen peroxide or any antiseptic.

After pruning, the thuja can be sprayed with a solution of "Epin" or "Zircon", these drugs will help the plant to survive stress faster, and at the same time - increase immunity and accelerate the growth of young shoots.

Dear readers! Thuja is an indispensable conifer not only for gardening and creating various landscapes. Thuja (in addition to its luxurious appearance) has useful properties. The air, where thuja grows, is filled with healing aroma because of phytoncides and essential oils contained in plants. Plant thuas in your garden and enjoy their magnificent appearance and delicate aroma!