How To Plant Thuja

Thuja is a native plant to North America and Eastern Asia; it also goes by the name Green Giant Arborvitae. There are several varieties of Thuja, some of which grow to heights of two hundred feet, making it an excellent tree for use when trying to achieve privacy. Planting and maintaining Thuja is quite easy and you can either do this by seeds or by way of vegetative propagation. It does best in soils pH in the ranges of six to eight.

Choosing The Species

There are three primary species of Thuja that you are likely to come across when looking for this plant. The first type is the Thuja green plant which is a combination of the Thuja Plicata and Thuja Standishii. This hybrid is an excellent option when one is looking for a fast growing Thuja species that can reach heights of between eighteen to twenty-five metres. You can also use it for ornamental purposes, alongside privacy reasons.

The second dominant type is the Thuja Occidentalis which is known for its beautiful foliage. It is much shorter than the former species and grows to a height of between ten and twenty metres. It also goes by the name white cedar.

Thuja Plicata is the best option when one is looking for a tree that can provide the utmost privacy to an establishment. This tree, also known as the giant arborvitae, can reach heights up to sixty metres.

How Can You Plant Thuja?


You can either use seeds or cuttings and the best time to do this would be in the summer. Thuja is a pretty healthy plant and can do well even when exposed to the sun. However, it is best to have it in an area with partial shade such that it does not suffer the effects of strong winds in its early stages.

What Do You Require?

The soil type

This plant is not very sensitive to soil and thus can do well in most soil types. The chosen soil type should have the ability to retain water and should contain nutrients vital for the growth of Thuja. Chalky soils can work for this.


Having a soil that can retain moisture is paramount to the growth of Thuja, as it hugely depends on water from the early germination stages onto its maturity. It is essential that the plant has moisture at all times and one way in which you can ensure this is by mulching the area around the stem. The mulch should be organic such that as it decomposes, adding nutrients to the soil, thus enhancing the growth rate.


Other than organic manure from the decomposing mulch, it is crucial that the plant has other sources of nutrients. You can top up by the use of liquid fertilizer at the start of the growing stage to help the tree grow at a faster rate.

Planting Thuja

Site preparation

First off, you need to select a site in which you can plant the arborvitae. Locate areas with access to sun and which have partial shade from strong winds. Collect soil samples from the sites which meet these criteria and test whether the soils have adequate nutrients. As you check for nutrients, also look into whether the soils retain water and whether they are suitable for the growth of this hedge. If a site’s soil is well-drained, then it is ideal for the growth of Thuja. Supposing the soil type in a given section is poor concerning nutrients, dig up the site and put in several inches of compost to give it a boost in nutrients.

Preparation of the hole

Measure the length of the root ball and use this dimension to dig a hole twice as long as this length. At the bottom of the pit, use two inches of loose black soil to act as a drainage area for the roots as this will prevent water logging. This step also enables the Thuja to be a little higher than the ground level.


It is essential that you lossen the soil in the container in which the Thuja is. You can do this by lightly striking the tin and tipping the plant to its side for easy removal. Next, untangle the roots around the root ball as this will help them spread out once they are in the hole. Place the root ball in the pit and cover it with soil. Be sure to pat down the soil around the root ball such that it remains firm, ensuring that the plant stays upright. Ensure that the space between plants is at least five feet to provide that there is no competition for nutrients in the future.

Using a shovel, create a soil ring at the base of the tree, measuring two inches high and two inches wide. This ring can hold at least one gallon of water, and it serves the entire root system of the plant. This water should be enough for growth provided that there is regular rainfall. Where there is no rain, it is essential that you water the plant at least once a week. This watering system needs to continue for a year before the plant can survive on rain alone.

How Can You Care For Thuja?

Here are a few measures that you should take to ensure that your plant stays healthy from the germination stage all through to the point when it reaches maturity.


Thuja grows in a column-like shape, and as such, not much pruning comes into play in maintenance. You can leave it be if you wish. However, if you are growing this plant as a fence, you can shape it as you want. One great thing about Thuja is that it can withstand constant pruning without affecting its growth rate.


You should be on the watch for conditions affecting your plant as well as infestation by insects. Bark beetles are some of the problems that you will have to battle in the care of this plant, alongside canker diseases. It is also essential that you look into whether the water around the stem drains to prevent logging which can lead to root rot.

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