Green Giant Thuja’s are fast becoming one of the most popular plants for the landscape, and for good reason. They are one of the fastest growing known evergreen trees. They can grow as much as 5 feet per year or more.
The result from a supposed cross between a Japanese thuja and the US native western redcedar (not a real cedar, actually thuja plicata,) it looks strongly like the plicata and definitely different from the (at this point) more commonly planted eastern white cedar (also not a real cedar) which is thuja occidentalis most commonly seen in garden centers as Emerald Green Arborvitae.
This plant family has really confusing common names, but hopefully you can follow along.
Anyways, probably about 6 years ago I bought one, just one, and planted it. Then moved it, then moved it, then moved it. I moved it three times in three years, finally planting it on the north side of a fence where it had good soil, but little sun.
The last two years once it reached a “critical mass” of growth and started getting some sun thanks to it’s height, it started taking off. It is growing really fast now, and is getting big. In the picture, the fence is 6 feet. So my 2 foot tree ordered online, transplanted three times, and planted in shade, has grown that fast, as an evergreen.
Deciduous trees can often grow that fast or faster, I’ve seen trees put up multiple feet of new growth in a year, the cherry tree immediately to the right of the thuja is only about 3 years old, but it is getting near it’s top (and is in extremely improved soil). But such deciduous trees cannot top this thuja for attractiveness, and in the winter, it is still there.
For a hedge, or a border, there is nothing better.
In the below pictures I found when doing some reading the trees were planted in 2005 at 10 inches high only, now the biggest are over 12 feet.
When Thuja Green Giant first started being offered by nurseries and garden centers it was somewhat expensive, and many places still overcharge not realizing it. But I just bought a few weeks ago on ebay 12 of them, 3 feet high, shipped free, for $50. Around $4 a tree, really good deal.
Deer will eat them, of course, perhaps the only downside of this plant, but they will grow tall, they will grow fast, they are very attractive, and the lumber is valuable and useful. All around an excellent tree to grow. And yes, only $4 each.
Some times a tree or plant is marketed and sold by nurseries in their catalogs and it doesn’t live up to the hype. Green Giant definitely does, highly recommended.