Hedge plants

Planting thuja as a hedge - instructions and care


Planting a thuja hedge is a breeze. Caring for the hedge is also very easy. You don't have to pay much attention to this.

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Thuja is preferably planted as a hedge. This is not only an optical enrichment for every garden, but also fulfills practical functions. If natural privacy is to be provided, the trees of life are an excellent choice. A thuja hedge will grow up very quickly, will also enhance the winter garden in the cold season and is easy to maintain and cut. The cypress family form different crown shapes. Narrow and conically growing species can reach a height of up to 15 meters. If you want a smaller hedge, choose spherical varieties that only grow about three to four meters high, are very well tolerated by pruning and are ideal as beginner plants.

When should the thuja hedge be planted?

The thuja hedge can be planted in spring or late summer. Spring is preferable because the roots will grow faster than if planted before winter. You can start planting as soon as the soil is frost-free and has warmed up slightly. The ideal planting times are April and May.

How should the planting distance be chosen?

If the goal is a particularly dense thuja hedge, the young plants should not be too tight. The plants grow quite quickly and would stand in the way of their development if they were too small. Ultimately, growth would be hindered just as nutrient absorption could no longer be guaranteed to the same extent for every plant. So that each plant can develop optimally, a planting distance of 40 to 45 centimeters is recommended.

Don't be discouraged by the initial gaps between the young plants. These will close very quickly and the plants will grow into a dense and healthy hedge when properly cared for.

Which types of thuja are suitable for planting hedges?

Thuja speciesDescription of the type
Thuja BrabantThis particularly strong plant is very suitable for planting hedges. Since the plant grows in several stems, reliable sight protection can be obtained quickly.
❍ rapid growth
❍ easy to care for
❍ opaque
❍ strong
❍ does not tolerate drought
❍ Avoid cutting back into the old wood
Thuja ExcelsaThe plant is also known as a giant tree of life, grows quickly and is a popular beginner plant. The lush green and shiny leaves are an ornament all year round.
❍ grows quickly
❍ also survives severe frosts
❍ strong, attractive foliage
❍ does not tolerate long dry phases
❍ Avoid cutting back into the old wood
Thuja emeraldThe thuja emerald impresses with its deep green foliage color and grows into a compact hedge. However, this takes some time.
❍ strong
❍ grows densely
Blätter attractive leaves
❍ easy to maintain
❍ does not tolerate extended drought
❍ grows slowly

The ideal location for the Thuja hedge

The location of the Thuja hedge needs to be carefully considered, because the initially small plants become a stately hedge, which later can no longer be easily transplanted and moved. The trees generally thrive best in sunny to partially shaded locations. A location that is too dark could affect growth. If the plants can absorb rainwater, this promotes growth and healthy development. Therefore, locations under trees are not recommended. You should also consider that the plants are sensitive to road salt. Placement on the side of the road or road is therefore less recommended.

What should the floor be like?

Thujen don't like locations that are too dry. A fresh floor that can store moisture well is ideal. Before planting, loosen the soil a little. You can mix in humus, peat or compost. In this way, the young plants are supplied with sufficient nutrients and can grow well. Thujen tolerate sandy and acidic soils less well.

Planting thuja hedge - step by step instructions

  1. Select location.
  2. Measure area.
  3. Determine the number of plants.
  4. Dig the trench (twice the width of the root ball).
  5. Loosen subsoil and remove roots, stones and other deposits.
  6. Work compost into the soil.
  7. Water the root ball until no more air bubbles rise.
  8. Slightly loosen the root ball.
  9. Plant carefully and plant straight.
  10. Fill the trench with soil.
  11. Carefully step on the floor.
  12. Water plants well.
  13. Install wind protection in less protected locations.

Water and fertilize the thuja hedge

Young plants should always be supplied with sufficient moisture. Older plants need less water. Free-standing thuja hedges can then absorb the necessary moisture through the rainwater. Occasional watering should not be missed on dry, hot summers. If you put bark mulch on the ground, the moisture can be stored better and the thuja hedge is usually supplied with sufficient moisture even on hot days.

If you mix the compost into the soil when planting, long-term fertilization is ensured. In addition, you can supply the plants with a special fertilizer for hedge plants once a year. Pay attention to a high content of magnesium and nitrogen. From August, fertilization should no longer take place so that the plants can prepare for winter rest.

Cutting thuja hedge - what should you watch out for?

If the Thuja hedge should grow as quickly as possible and protect it from prying eyes, you should not neglect the cut of the trees of life. Thujen are very well tolerated by cutting.

When should a care cut be made?

Thuja hedges can be cut in early spring, then no new shoots have formed. In spring, a large pruning can also be done on larger hedges. Trees of life can also be cut in early summer. You can take advantage of the plants' growth pause in June. The resulting wounds can close evenly because the plant grows less quickly at this point.

The best cutting result can be achieved on days when the sky remains cloudy. Focus on the young shoots. Cuts that are set too deep create holes. These disturb the harmonious overall picture of the hedge and it takes quite some time until a natural and closed growth is restored.

Please note:
Thuja hedges not only offer attractive privacy protection, they are also popular hiding places for birds. Before putting the scissors on, you should check whether there are inhabited bird nests in the dense branches. If this is the case, postpone the cutting of the hedge until the young birds have fledged.

Important: Protect interfaces from heat

Thuja hedges are considered robust and hardy. However, this does not apply to the fresh interfaces. These are particularly vulnerable and can, for example, burn when exposed to excessive heat and make the plant vulnerable to pests and fungi. Therefore, if possible, do not cut hedges on sunny days. If this cannot be avoided, the following measures can be helpful:

  • electric hedge trimmers ensure a quick, precise cut
  • Cover interfaces with garden fleece
  • If the sun is strong, leave the fleece on the plant overnight

Hibernate thuja hedge properly

Thanks to the evergreen foliage, the hedge made of trees is very attractive even in the cold season. If the young plants have grown into a stately hedge, they prove to be robust and hardy. There are varieties commercially available that are winter hardy down to -35 degrees and thus withstand even the most severe frosts. The plants offered with a winter hardiness of up to -25 degrees should survive the winter in our latitudes undamaged. But always make sure that the plants are adequately hydrated even in dry winters.

If you keep the Thujen as a mobile hedge, i.e. in one or more planters, you need to protect these planters well in winter. You can find out more about this in our article Wintering Thuja - Tips for wintering outdoors and in a bucket.

By the way:
If the leaves turn brown in winter, it is a natural process that serves to adapt to the cold season, there is no need to worry. If the Thujen, on the other hand, become brown and die, this may be due to the so-called Miniermoth. More on this in our article Thuja turns brown - Miniermotte is to blame.