Why do owners of private estates love thuja so much? Yes, it’s just that she is always “smart” and she “watches her shape”. This evergreen tree (shrub) belongs to the noble cypress family and is practically not capricious, unlike its closest relatives.
But for the successful relocation of the thuja to your site, you should still carefully read the important requirements for its maintenance. Almost all types of thuja love cozy windless places, the sun and tolerate partial shade, do not tolerate stagnant moisture in the soil, but love sprinkling, especially during the dry season.
And the thuja crown is also afraid of sunburn, which is easy to get on clear frosty days of winter and early spring, as well as in the July heat.
Therefore, for the first five years of life, young individuals are covered with geotextiles for the winter, and in the hot season they are generously pollinated with water from a sprinkler with a fine nozzle (creating a fog effect).
The natural element of thuja is a humid and warm climate. However, in our area, she feels quite comfortable, the main thing is to choose the right place for her and the composition of the soil.
For the climatic zone of the European part of the continent, all varieties of western thuja are most suitable — it is frost-resistant.
As for longevity, in their homeland thujas live up to 100 years and some of them grow up to 20 m in height. In the harsh conditions of our climate, the life span is reduced to 50 years, and growth is limited to a maximum of seven meters. However, this is quite enough to become a decoration of your garden.
It is most appropriate to plant thujas on the south side of buildings and fences, where they will be protected from shading and cold winds.
The tree itself has a beautiful crown of the correct shape, but the thuja can be cut. They do this in order to thicken the crown, to create clear contours in hedges and topiary forms.
I will not even try to acquaint you with all types and varieties of thuja, I will focus only on the most stable and, at the same time, highly decorative.
Thuja western (Thuja occidentalis) and its varieties.
- Growth area: forest zone of North America.
- Flowering period: April May.
- Color spectrum: under natural conditions, the needles are juicy green, varietal varieties from yellow to gray.
- Height: at home up to 20 m, we have an order of magnitude lower
- Growing conditions: clay and calcareous soils without prolonged stagnation of water, sunny places, possibly with shading.
- Peculiarities: the most resistant to frost and drought in comparison with its relatives.
«Danica» — self-forming evergreen balls that do not require a haircut. A variety from the category of «planted and forgotten.»
It grows slowly, at a venerable age, the crown diameter is not more than 1 m. Ideal in green and just mixborders, great for creating curb hedges.
«Teddy» the cute plush charm looks so little like a thuja, because her needles are like a Christmas tree, only very soft.
It grows very slowly, because a coniferous ball with a diameter of 30 cm is quite expensive. But it can be given any shape, even geometric, even natural, for example, a large boulder.
«Wagneri» — an ideal variety for areas with a cold climate, the most frost-resistant of all thuja, the crown is compact, therefore it does not particularly suffer from heavy snowfalls.
Maximum height — 3.5 m, and 1.5 m in diameter.
Variety «Columna» has a columnar crown that is almost even from the base to the top, creates bright evergreen verticals in the garden. Ideal for creating high (more than 3m) hedges.
thuja «Emerald» has needles of emerald color, therefore, in any corner of the garden it is a welcome guest.
Medium-sized variety with a pyramidal crown, best for creating topiary forms.
thuja«Brabant» more loose (if not cut) than the previous variety. But it grows faster and is therefore more suitable for creating hedges.
It eventually grows up to 3 m. The density of the crown is regulated by regular pruning.
A big plus, besides the growth rate, is that the crown descends to the very ground, which allows the gardener to sculpt any shape from it.
If the crown is compacted with pruning, the crown will not fall apart after winter under the weight of snow.
«Fastigiata» — a variety of German selection, the tallest, in our climate it can reach 7-8 m.
Annual growth up to 30 cm. The shape of the crown is pyramidal: wide at the bottom and pointed at the top.
With artificial thickening through regular pruning, you can get beautiful trees with a crown in the form of an arrowhead.
«Filiformis» — a charming «waterfall» of their living green threads. It grows very slowly: by the age of ten it forms a ball no more than 1 m in diameter.
«Golden Taffet» I will note because of the unusual property of the needles. It is also a dwarf variety with a spherical crown, but in summer it is bright yellow, turning brown by autumn, and by frost the tips of the branches may acquire an orange tint. In order for the plants to appear in all their glory, well-lit sunny places are chosen for this variety.
Thuja folded, giant (Thuja plicata ), another name is red cedar.
- Growth area: Pacific coast of Canada, USA, south of Alaska.
- Flowering period: May.
- Color spectrum: dark green in nature, in varieties it has color variations.
- Height: at home in a humid climate reaches a height of 75 m.
- Growing conditions: moist, fertile, drained soils, shade-tolerant, wind-resistant, requires shelter for the winter.
- Peculiarities: evergreen tree, shrub, lives 500-800 years, crown shape is pyramidal, columnar, weeping.
«Cancan» — a low variety with a pyramidal crown. It is interesting in the landscape for its «unkemptness».
It differs from other tui in the chaotic orientation of the extreme branches (like the skirt of a performer of the dance of the same name).
In our climate, it does not grow more than 3 m. For the winter, it requires shelter from snow sticking.
thuja Whipcord doesn’t look like conifer at all. Long green «threads» form a bizarre spherical shape. A slow growing variety that is easy to care for if you remember to cover for the winter.
All thujas suffer from spring burns, so they are covered with geotextiles at a young age.
At the same time, a thuja planted in the shade will have a loose and unpresentable crown.
The soil under the plants is loosened in spring to a depth of 10 cm, and then covered with a thick layer of mulch from wood chips (not bark). If the near-stem soil is not mulched, then the loosening procedure is repeated every spring.
And yet, translated from the Greek thuja — this is the tree of life …
It is appropriate everywhere: along the fences, instead of them, in any corner of the site, near the water, among the stones, at the porch of the house, under the windows, it goes well with other trees and herbaceous perennials. Therefore, we just look at the photo of the thuja in the landscape.
Since the thuja has an almost constant color, whether it be green, gray or yellowish and static during the season, it can be combined with almost any plant.
Conifers and heathers create a wonderful background, but at the same time it is worth adding to the soil under that slaked lime to remove acidity from the soil, which is formed from the presence of firs, pines and junipers.
Verticals and balls, which are perfectly combined with each other, can form different varieties of arborvitae. Thus, it is possible to create a fairly extensive composition of thuja alone.
Tui grown from seeds are undoubtedly more resistant and have a high percentage of survival. However, no one can predict in advance whether a seedling will retain varietal characteristics.
Therefore, preference is given to cuttings, since this is a fairly easy way to get a rooted plant. The survival rate of such planting material is about 70-80%, provided that the cuttings were harvested in the fall.
Why not in spring? At the beginning of the vegetative season, a lot of strength is required for the growth of the upper part of the plant, and then you still need to put down roots 🙁 …
And in the fall, the apical part slowed down its growth, but is still able to form roots. Therefore, cuttings are harvested for rooting only in October, only on a cloudy day and at a time when deciduous plants are actively shedding foliage.
Lignified side branches (last year’s growths) from a tree no more than 5 years old and about 15 cm long are suitable for grafting. Under these conditions, the seedling will eventually develop into a tree with a regular crown and a straight trunk.
- into water with a rooting agent (no more than 1.5 hours), and then into the soil substrate,
- wrapped in a cloth soaked in water with a rooting agent, and on top in a film.
The cuttings are placed in a lighted place and carefully ensure that the substrate is regularly moistened and the fabric does not dry out.
When the plant takes root, it is transplanted first into containers, and in the spring into a school, where it grows in partial shade for another 2-3 years.
The risk of «losing» the plant exists only at the stage of root germination and stay in the container.
It is best to replant thuja in the fall, since soil moisture is higher and drying out is excluded. In clay soils, drainage is arranged under the roots. The root neck cannot be buried in the ground.
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