Thuja Nigra is one of the best varieties for cold climates and will keep its dark green color all winter long. It is hardy in USDA zones 3 – 7, which cover a massive portion of the United States. Thuja Nigra is the native hedging and screening plant of choice. When crushed, the flat, delicate, dark-green foliage emits a pleasantly sweet aroma. It isn’t picky about soil and will grow in sandy and heavy clay soils equally well. It is also practically maintenance-free. The only major maintenance is hedge shearing after several years of growth. Unlike some evergreen plants, Thuja Nigra has few pest and disease problems. If you’ve had issues with Leyland Cypress or Arborvitae Emerald Green in your yard, this plant is a great replacement.
15 to 20 feet
5 to 10 feet
any type of soil
Water until established
How to Care for Thuja Nigra Arborvitae
Never plant trees deeper than originally planted in the pot. Doing so can cause rotting of the stem and death to the tree. Thuja Nigra Arborvitaes are very drought tolerant, however they grow very slow without adequate water. Staking young trees is recommended. When tying trees to stakes remember the tree will continue to grow. Loosely tie the Thuja Nigra with several twist ties to allow for growth. Check trees every three months and loosen as needed. If this is not done, the twist tie will grow into the tree causing injury. The one question that comes up often, “when is the best time to plant.”? For the most part, container trees can be planted year around, provided the ground isn’t frozen. Below Virginia many nurseries and Christmas tree growers field plant year around, weather permitting. When planting a potted Thuja Nigra Arborvitae, remember the only water source the tree has, is its small root ball, and all the water the tree uses must come from there until new roots can grow into the surrounding soil.After back filling and lightly compacting the 50/50 mix of existing soil and compost give the plant a good deep watering. This is not to be rushed. most of the water you put on the plant at first will run away from the plant until the soil is soaked. A general rule of thumb is to count to 5 for every one gallon of pot size. For example a one gallon pot would be watered until you count to 5 a three gallon pot would be 15 and so on. Check the plant daily for the first week or so and then every other day there after. Water using the counting method for the first few weeks. More plants die from being over-watered rather than under-watered.
Frequently Asked questions
How to Use a Thuja Nigra as a Privacy Screen?
Thuja Nigra is hardy to Zone 3. It is a pyramidal tree, which can reach up to 20 feet tall and up to 10 feet wide which makes it good for Medium screen. It is graceful, and somewhat open in habit of growth. Give Thuja Nigra trees ample room, to allow for symmetry of growth. It grows well in a variety of soils, but prefers good drainage. The Thuja Nigra tree is great if you need to create fast privacy for your home. It’s a fast growing tree growing around 1 to 2 feet per year where its happy. We recommend planting Thuja Nigra in a line with about 5 feet apart from each other to create quick privacy, however they can be planted at 8 to 10 foot intervals if you don’t mind waiting a bit for privacy. When planting alone the tree takes on a pyramidal shape and can be grown as a specimen tree to break sight-lines. Double row plantings of Thuja Nigra are a great way to not only create privacy but to reduce noise from a busy roadway adjacent to your property for example.
How to Water a Thuja Nigra?
After back filling and lightly compacting the 50/50 mix of existing soil and compost give the plant a good deep watering. This is not to be rushed. most of the water you put on the plant at first will run away from the plant until the soil is soaked. A general rule of thumb is to count to 5 for every one gallon of pot size. For example a one gallon pot would be watered until you count to 5 a three gallon pot would be 15 and so on. Check the plant daily for the first week or so and then every other day there after. Water using the counting method for the first few weeks. More plants die from being over-watered rather than under-watered.
How to Mulch a Thuja Nigra?
We highly recommend that you mulch your Thuja Nigra with either a ground hardwood mulch or a ground cypress mulch depending on your local availability. Any type of mulch will do but cypress or hardwood mulch will be of a higher quality and provide better nutrition overall as they breakdown. Mulching helps to keep weeds away which will compete with your new investment for water and nutrients. A 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch is sufficient but remember to take care not to cover any part of the stem of the plant with mulch. Its better to leave a one inch gap of space between the mulch and the stem or trunk of the plant.
How to Fertilize a Thuja Nigra?
We recommend when planting your Thuja Nigra to use Bio-tone starter fertilizer by Espoma. We have tried many so called “starter fertilizers” over the years and have come to rely on Bio-tone exclusively for our own use. Simply mix the recommended amount of Bio-tone into the back-fill soil and water in generously when back-filled. Bio-tone® Starter Plus is an all-natural plant food that is combined with a stronger concentration of our beneficial bacteria along with both endo and ecto mycorrhizae. Basically the “good” fungus in Bio-tone colonizes on the growing roots of your newly planted plant and does not allow disease causing fungus to attack the new roots. It has also shown promise in stimulating the growth of the new roots which means quicker establishment for you plant.
After establishment and during the following years we recommend Holly-tone used at the recommended rates. It is also organic and slow release which will feed your trees the proper amount of nutrients over a period of time rather than all at once which can burn the root tips and actually have the opposite effect of slowing down plant growth. It also will help to maintain the acid level in the soil that Thuja Green Giant Arborvitaes need to thrive.
How to Prune a Thuja Nigra?
Thuja Nigra trees take on a tall, broad-based, pyramidal shape if left un-pruned. However, a young tree can be trained and its growth restrained if pruning is done on a regular basis. The Thuja Nigra does best when grown with a single leader and extra main stems should be removed at planting. The tree’s overall growth can be controlled by pruning its side branches annually, cutting back each branch back by about one-third, and by topping the tree slightly during each pruning session. For trees planted in a row, you could also prune them into a formal hedge by shearing back the entire outer-facing portion of each tree two or three times each year, allowing the tree surfaces that face each other to grow unchecked. Both fertilizing and major pruning of the Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae trees are best done in early spring, before the tree begins its annual growth. Pruning at this time also allows removal of any branches that were damaged by strong wind or snow and ice over the winter. Arborvitae trees also respond well to light pruning or shearing later in the growing season, at any time between spring and early-to-mid summer. However, avoid pruning a tree in late summer or fall, since pruning stimulates new growth, which is tender and easily damaged by dropping temperatures in fall and winter. A good sharp pair of shears is a must. Young nurserymen are told that if they invest in a good pair of shears when they start out they will continue to be searved by those shear for the rest of there careers. A very popular brand of pruners to professional is the Felco #2. The blade is changable and can easily be sharpened and cleaned by disassembly of the pruners.