Thuja Tree: Planting And Care In The Open Field, Species And Varieties With Photos

Thuja is also called a "life tree".  It is directly related to the genus of hungry conifers of the juniper family, such as sequoia, cypress, juniper, taxodium and cypress. Thuja was introduced to European countries from America or East Asia. The Latin name of such a plant has an ancient Greek root that means "incense", "sacrifice". This suggests a connection between the name thuja and the fact that some aromatic species of this plant are ritually burned as incense.

This genus brings together six species. Each such plant is capable of living on average up to 150 years, but there are older specimens as well. Cultivated several species of Thuja and about 120 varieties of this plant, which differ in quality, as well as the color of the needles, and still their crowns can be different shapes. In landscape design this plant is cultivated as a solitaire or in groups, and they also decorate borders and alleys. Thuja is also suitable for creating hedges.

Peculiarities of Thuja

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Thuja is an evergreen tree or shrub. In natural conditions, their trunk can be 6 meters in diameter and 70 meters in height. In horticulture, the height of this tree usually does not exceed 11 m. Young specimens have soft, needle-like needles of pale green color. On older specimens, however, the needles are scaly, crisscross suproposed, and have a dark green color.

In such monodomous plants, the fruits are represented by small cones which have an oblong or oval shape, but their seeds are flat. Seeds begin to ripen in the first year. This plant is undemanding and resistant to cold and smoke. And the Western Thuja is able to withstand frosty winters.

Planting the Thuja in the open ground

Time of planting

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Before planting directly, you must choose a site that is best suited for this plant.

Such a tree likes light, but it is not good for it to be exposed to direct sunlight all day long. The fact is that this contributes to the dehydration of the plant and leads to the fact that it significantly worse endures wintering. In this regard, the best option for the thuja is a well-lit place, but in the midday hours, when the sun is most active, it should be in the shade. You should also remember that such a tree negatively reacts to drafts. Experts advise choosing a nutrient-enriched soil for such a plant.

So, excellent suit sod soil, in which peat and sand should be added. But for cultivation will suit and not too rich soil (sandy loam, boggy or clay). Planting thuja in the open ground can be both in spring and in autumn. But you should note that in autumn the plant may not have enough time to get stronger and therefore will endure the wintering badly.

How to plant a Thuja

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

The size of the planting hole directly depends on the size of the plant's root system taken with the root ball.

Thus, the depth of the hole should be 15-30 centimeters larger and its width 35-40 centimeters. When planting several seedlings, the distance between them to leave is influenced by the size of the adult specimen and can range from 100 to 500 centimeters. If the plant is planted along an alley, the distance between them should vary from 350 to 400 centimeters. At the bottom of the planting hole should be poured soil, which should be mixed with not too much decomposed manure or compost. Before planting the thuja, its roots should be immersed in water.

And pull them out only when the air bubbles stop coming to the surface of the water. Then, the seedling is lowered into the hole and set exactly in its center. After that, the root system is straightened out, and one should pay attention to the fact that the root neck of the seedling should be slightly above the surface of the ground. After that, you should hold the tree with one hand and fill the hole with a good soil mixture with the other. Then tamp it down well but gently, making sure the base of the trunk is not damaged.

After that you should water the mulberry tree, using 15-20 liters per specimen. After the liquid has been absorbed into the soil and it has settled a little, its surface should be covered with a layer of mulch (peat, pine bark, wood chips or compost). Mulch will considerably slow the evaporation of moisture from the soil and will also protect the root system of the plant on too hot or too cold days. But make sure that the mulch does not reach the lower branches or cover the trunk, as this may cause the thuja to wilt.

Tuja garden care


This plant likes moisture and responds well to a sprinkling procedure.

Once the plant is planted, water every week for the first few weeks, using 1 to 5 buckets of water per plant (depending on the size of the tree). Young trees sprinkling brings special benefit, so that the soil and roots are saturated with water, and from the needles are removed pollution, which significantly improves breathing plants, and it not only looks much better, but also much faster grows and develops. As this tree has shallow roots, we recommend loosening the soil surface to a maximum depth of 8-10 cm after each watering.


Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

In spring the plant needs fertilising and for this purpose we recommend a mineral based fertiliser such as Kemira Universal solution (50 to 60 grams per 1 square metre). If you fertilize the plant at the time of planting, you should fertilize it again after a couple of years at the earliest.


Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

This plant responds very well to pruning. So, if it is trimmed often and heavily, it will become very lush and bushy. You can cut it whenever you want, but you should do it in spring, before the buds open. If this tree is grown as a hedge, it should be pruned without fail and this should be done systematically. If it is grown as a solitary plant, it will still need thinning pruning as well as sanitary pruning.

However, if these plants are cultivated as a group, they will need shaping pruning, otherwise they can get an unsightly, untidy appearance. You should only start to shape the crown when the thuja has grown to the size you want. In some cases you might only need to cut once in the spring, but in August or September you will usually have to cut it a second time. There are some varieties which need relatively frequent trimming, but please note that you should not cut more than 1/3 of the stem at a time to avoid weakening the tree. The first pruning should only be done when the tree is two or three years old.

You will need a very sharp and powerful pruning shear, so you should never chew up the stems.


Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

There are times when it is simply necessary to transplant an already mature thuja. Such a plant is quite easy to transplant, but you need to know a few fairly simple rules. If the tree is not very big, you should poke holes into the soil around it with a fairly sharp spade and retreat 0.4 to 0.

5 meters from the trunk. Then the tree should be gently picked up and the root system should be pulled out together with the root circle. The plant should then be moved with a wheelbarrow to the planting spot, making sure that the clump of soil is not destroyed. Then the thuja is immediately planted in its new location. If the tree is relatively large, you should poke it in advance, or rather 12 months before transplanting.

The fact is that during this period, the plant will be able to grow young roots inside the clod of soil, which was limited to the "circle". As a result, the soil when transporting the tree will not crumble, and transplanting for the thuja will be completely painless. This tree will take root fairly easily and quickly after transplanting.

Diseases and pests

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

The plants are affected by fungal diseases such as fusariosis, brown schutte and cytosporosis. They can damage both the stems and the needles.

In order to cure the mulberry, it is treated with Kartotsid or Bordeaux liquid. The diseased plant should be sprayed from the beginning of the spring period. Treatments are done twice a month until the thuja is cured.

Aphids and false scales can settle on this tree. After this happens, the needles will start to change their color to yellow and then die off.

To get rid of the pests it is recommended to use Rogor, Karbofos or Decis, and near the end of June two treatments with Chlorophos or Actellic should be made, with the interval being 14 days.

Tuja propagation

A both vegetative and seed method of propagation is used. If the plant is a species, seeds are fine for propagation. However, varietal and shaped plants should be propagated only by vegetative methods, which include: bush division and cuttings. The reason is that the seeds of such plants do not retain the varietal traits of the mother plant.

Tuja propagation by cuttings

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

To propagate such a plant by cuttings, you should prepare the cuttings in June. For this purpose, cut woody stems which are 2 or 3 years old and which can be between 25 and 40 centimetres long. You can also use those current year stems which are half mature and vary in length from 10 to 20 centimetres. The cuttings should not be cut, but pulled out with a heel. The place of detachment from the parent plant should be treated with a solution of Heteroauxin.

Then the cuttings should be planted, burying it by 15-25 mm. For planting, an earth mixture consisting of peat, sod soil and sand taken in a ratio of 1:1:1 is used. It must necessarily be disinfected and for this purpose use a lukewarm solution of manganese potassium. The cuttings should be covered with polyethylene film. Only after the complete rooting of the cuttings, they should begin to be ventilated and hardened.

After some time after that, the cover is removed for good. In deep autumn, these plants should be covered with sawdust, dry leaves or lapnik. Once the temperature drops to -5-7 degrees below zero, a film should be placed on top of the cover.

Tuja propagation by cuttings.

Growing Thuja from seed

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Growing from seed is a rather long process, as it may take 3-5 years.

Only freshly harvested seeds are suitable for sowing. They must first be subjected to natural stratification by placing them under the snow outside or on the shelf of a refrigerator, where they should stay from the fall to the spring period. The seeds are sown in the springtime in the open ground, selecting a spot in the penumbra. Seeds are sown to a half-centimeter depth, and on top of them should be poured a relatively thin layer of sawdust of conifers. After that seedbeds should be covered from direct sunlight and shields are used for this purpose, but make sure that the soil is constantly loose and a little damp.

When the seeds have germinated, the surface of the bed should be mulched with peat. Once every 2 weeks you should apply a solution of full mineral fertilizer to the soil. At the end of the first season the height of young thuas will be 7-8 cm. Before the onset of winter, these plants should be covered with lapnik, over which the film is placed. With the onset of spring, the cover should be removed and the young thuas should be cared for in the same way as in their first year of life (watering, weeding, fertilizing and mulching).

Only on the third spring, after the trees are half a meter high, you should transplant them to a permanent place.

Tuja in winter in the country


In autumn time, you should stop both watering the plant and putting fertilizers into the soil. The reason is to prepare it for the coming winter.

How to cover the Thuja

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Younger trees that are less than 5 years old should be covered with lapnuts. But before you do this you must cover the plants with a high dip and cover the root zone with a thick layer of mulch (peat).

Mature specimens do not need to be covered for the winter, but the plant should be covered with mulch.

Wintering the Thuja

When the winter period is characterized by heavy snowfalls, this may cause injury to the branches even of mature and rather strong trees. To avoid this, tie the crown of the plant with twine in the fall. At the end of February, a fleece should be placed on the tree to protect it from the too intense spring sun. In some cases cracks may appear on the bark due to the sudden change in temperature.

In the springtime you should caulk them up with garden varnish, and the bark should be torn down well so that the cracks can heal.

This is best tied up for the winter!

Tuja species and varieties with photos and descriptions

Thuja occidentalis (Thuja occidentalis)

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Western Thuja is the most common cultivated species of this plant. In gardens, alleys, parks and public gardens one can see a large number of varieties and varieties of this species. It began to be cultivated in European countries in the 16th century. The tallest representatives of this species grow to 8-12 meters.

This plant is a long-living plant world, so it can live up to 1 thousand years. While the plant is young, its crown has a pyramidal shape, but over the years it becomes ovoid. Cone-, pin- or column-shaped thuas are most often used for landscaping. For example:

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

  1. Brabant - The height of such a plant varies from 15 to 21 meters and its diameter is 3 to 4 meters. The crown is conical.

    The bark is light red or brownish-gray, peeling. There is a scale-like green needles. The light brown cones are up to 1.2 cm long and have an oblong egg-like shape.

  2. SmaragdThis squat variety can reach a height of 200 cm.

    This weakly branched plant has a cone-shaped crown. The stems are placed upright and have glossy evergreen branches that are far apart. This variety is quite popular with gardeners.

The most popular of the spherical crown thuas are such varieties as:

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

  1. Danika - this dwarf form is the result of the work of Danish breeders. The peeling bark is colored light red or brownish gray.

    Scaly green needles are soft, dense and glossy, with a light brown tint in winter.

  2. Woodwardy is a dwarf variety with a globular crown. Its height does not exceed 2.5 meters, but the crown can be up to 5 meters in diameter. Its branches and stems are straight and flat.

    The needles are dark green in color.

There are also cultivars with thread-like, cascading crowns, such as Filiformis. The plant is no more than 150 centimeters tall. It has a wide cone-shaped or dense rounded crown. Dangling stems are long, threadlike, weakly branched.

The young needles are pale green, but in winter they have a brownish tinge.

Newer forms of this plant have appeared in the world, such as the heather-like plant Ericoides. The height of such a plant does not exceed 100 centimeters. Its appearance is similar to that of a juniper. The wide-conical multi-trunk crown is rounded.

A lot of thin elastic stems can be curved or straight. The hissed needles are quite soft. The upper part of the plant is a dull greenish-yellow, while the lower part is a greenish-gray. There are also species with two types of needles (scale-like and needle-like) on the same plant. Such a plant has a rather bizarrely growing crown.

Thus, when the plant is 8-10 years old, it divides into several tops as if there were several Thuja species.

Thuja plicata (Thuja plicata)

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Thuja is also called a giant Thuja. It is naturally found along the Pacific coast. This species is the most high-mountainous. It can reach a height of up to 60 meters with a trunk diameter of 3-4 meters.

But in culture, the tree is not as tall. It has several ornamental species and the most popular is Zebrina.

Thuja koraiensis (Thuja koraiensis)

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

This broad shrub or tree is 9 meters tall. It has very showy whitish, almost silver needles. The tree must be covered for the winter.

Tuja standishii (Thuja standishii)

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

Native to the mountains of Central Japan. In nature, it reaches a height of 18 meters. The crown is broad, cone-shaped. The bark is copper-red. The lower part of the branches has a silver color.

If you rub them, you can smell lemon and eucalyptus caramel. Growth of the plant is quite slow in areas with cool climates, while it is much faster in warm areas.

Thuja orientalis, or Platycladus

Thuja tree: planting and care in the open field, species and varieties with photos

This plant is classified in the subgenus Biota, but is considered its only representative. Under natural conditions it can be found in China and has been cultivated in Central Asia for centuries. It is a spreading tree or a large shrub with an openwork crown.

There are about 60 garden forms, but all are frost-resistant.

Tuja varieties. Briefly for beginning gardeners.


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