April 25, 2012
If you are looking for a green landscape around your house and you are not able to spend lots of time looking after the garden and, evergreens are a good choice. Properly selected evergreens are easy to care for and can provide year round interest. Arborvitae is excellent evergreens that are suited for our Minnesota climate. They can be easily grown in the climates of cold northern landscapes. They can be used as a hedges, for foundation plantings and as wind breaks. These hedge plants are very adaptable and they can serve many purposes. Arborvitaes are primarily used to create natural hedges around our homes and areas need screening. They can serve as partitions and barriers for privacy and are also referred to as living fences was used as a hedge. They can also be used for ornamental purposes.
Thuja is the botanical genus of arborvitae and there are many varieties of arborvitaes. It does not have a common name, but is often referred as a white cedar. Many different varieties of arborvitaes are grown worldwide, but only Thuja occidentalis are hardy in our Minnesota climate.
Some varieties of the arborvitaes that can be hardy in warm micro climates and the color of their foliage will change with the cold weathers. Many varieties have the chance to develop yellowish/brown overtone in the winter climate. If you do not like these colors and want the evergreens to retain a nice green color then try planting the ‘Techny’ variety. This variety is resistant winter color discoloration and one of my favorite. I have used this for low and tall hedges and in many different garden styles, including Japanese gardens. In fact Techny Arborvitae are a great choice for create an enclosed private and intimate space for any garden project.
Other attractive features of Arborvitaes:
Arborvitae has scale like leaves that are dark green in color. The leaves are generally flattened and arranged in a fan like shape. Thuja trees can reach up to a height of 10-50 feet at maturity. Its leaves are like needles, but they do not look like needles or feel like needles. Bruising the foliage of arborvitae gives a pleasant fragrance.
They can be grown in rich sunny climates, with well drained soils and evenly moist soils having a neutral pH value. They grow fairly quickly and provide a fair amount of coverage, although not all kinds of Arborvitae are suitable for use as privacy hedges. Arborvitaes will also perform very well in areas with shady conditions. Like all the other plants, they need some special care until they develop a good root system and they will develop the ability to withstand stress once they become established.
If the area in which you are planning to plant these arborvitaes receives heavy snow fall they will there is a chance that they might become damaged. To help prevent this, plant them in locations where there will be less direct snow fall. Arborvitaes can become infected with an insect called red spider mite, which is a commonly found on where conditions are hot, dry and dusty. Red spiders are sucking insects which are small in size and cannot be seen easily on the foliage. If your Arborvitae are planted in these conditions you can help avoid avoiding this problem by rinsing the dust off the plants on regular basis.
The best feature of Arborvitaes is that you can cut off till the portion that is affected with insects. This makes them good a plant for formal plantings and hedges. These evergreens can be pruned in the early summer after the growth has fully expanded and during the middle of August to late August. For maintaining a desired height of these hedges, do not wait until it grows to the required height for pruning. Cut them off before it reaches the required height and let the short stems grow to the finished or desired hedge height. This helps them grow to form with good dense foliage and strong branches.
Any type of evergreen planted in ourMinnesotaclimate will start shredding their old growth each year. The period that the evergreen restrains its foliage depends on the variety you are growing. This is the same in case of arborvitaes. As the plant ages, their old foliage will turn into yellow and brown colors before shedding. These evergreen plants tend to hold their foliage for 3-4 years.
A list of arborvitaes that commonly available in our localMinnesotanurseries is listed here for your help. Most of these varieties are hardy and categorized as zone 3 plants.
Brandon Thuja occidentalis ‘Brandon’: It grows in upright form and grows 12-15′ tall x 6-8′ wide with green foliage. This variety stays narrow upright with finely textured foliage. Added feature of this variety is it is resistant to winter burn.
Degroot’s Spire Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire’: It grows in upright form and grows 6′ tall x 24″ wide. This variety grows slowly and stays narrow upright and require little pruning.
Gold Cargo Thuja occidentalis ‘Gold Cargo’: It grows in upright form and grows 12-15′ tall x 8′ wide with green foliage. This variety stays narrow upright with finely textured foliage.
Golden Thuja occidentalis aurea Globe form: It tolerates light shade and is having a broad growth habit. The golden-yellow foliage grows in size to 30″ x 30.
Hetz Midget Thuja occidentalis ‘Hetz Midget’ Globe form: It tolerates light shade and is having a broad growth habit. The dark green
Holmstrup Thuja occidentalis ‘Holmstrup’: It grows in upright form and grows 5-10′ tall x 24” wide with green foliage. This variety stays narrow upright tolerating moist soil and light shades.
Little Giant Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Giant’ Globe form: It tolerates light shade and is slow growing variety. The dark green foliage grows in size to 30″ x 30.
Pyramidal Thuja occidentalis ‘Pyramidalis’: It grows in upright form and grows 12-25′ tall x 3-6′ wide with green foliage. This variety stays narrow pyramid with soft-textured foliage; it can tolerate light shade.
Rushmore Thuja occidentalis ‘Rushmore’ Upright form; 12-25′ tall x 3-6′ wide; dark green foliage; compact, narrow form; resistant to winter burn; good wind tolerance
Sherwood Moss Thuja occidentalis ‘Sherwood Moss’ Globe form; 48″ x 48″; blue-green foliage; conical; attractive variety with foliage; foliage may bronze in winter
Sunkist Thuja occidentalis ‘Sunkist’ Upright form; 6-8′ tall x 4-5′ wide; golden-yellow foliage; dense; fast growing; tolerates light shade; only hardy to Zone 4
Techny Globe Thuja occidentalis Globe form; 3-5′ x 3-5′; dark green foliage; resistant to winter burn; slower growing than some other varieties; tolerates light shade
Techny Thuja occidentalis ‘Techny’ Upright form; 12-15′ tall x 6-8′ wide; dark green foliage; broadly pyramidal form; dense foliage; holds color in winter
If you would like our help with your landscape or Japanese garden project please contact us, Niwa Design Studio, at 952-470-1882.
You can also visit Japanese Garden Journal for more information about Japanese Gardens.