|Year||Plant 1 gains||Plant 2 gains||Plant 3 gains||Average gains|
|Year||Plant 1 height||Plant 2 height||Plant 3 height||Average height|
Last year I posted an article showing how to plant Thuja Green Giants. I purchased 3 plants from Botany Shop Garden Center and planted them to screen a storage shed from being seen from the road.
While researching screening shrubs, I read lots of conflicting claims on the internet about their growth rate. Some say their trees only grew a couple inches per year while others say that they grew several feet per year. After surfing the internet for an hour or so, I was unable to locate a good documentary showing the growth rate of the Green Giant. This inspired me to create this yearly documentary to give people an idea of my experience and what they can expect. Keep in mind that results will vary from region to region and everyone s soil and lighting conditions will be different.
Year zero –Planting the saplings (July 2011)
In July of 2011 I decided to plant these green giants. While July is not the ideal month to transplant these shrubs, it is still possible as long as you keep them well watered.
These trees were planted on the south side of the house in the Piedmont region of central North Carolina. The soil here filled with clay and rock, making it difficult to cultivate. One plant receives full sunlight while the others 2 are partly shaded by the shadow of my home. For those who do not know, NC summers are hot and humid while winters are fairly mild.
The trees that I purchased arrived in the mail and stood a proud 20-21” tall.
Each tree was planted about 3’ apart. I amended the soil with a peat moss enriched landscaping soil and fertilized 3-4 times a year with Osmocote fertilizer. During the first 3 months I watered every day. Hardwood mulch was added to help retain moisture.
Year one– Root Establishment (August 2012)
It has been one year since I planted my Green Giants. So far they have seen growth of 16”, 15”, and 12”. At this point it seems as if the plants favor sunlight over partial shade as the one planted in the sunny part has grown 4” taller than the one in the shady area.
They appear to be very healthy and bright green. Over the winter I experienced browning on the tips of some plants but this eventually went away. I once read somewhere that when you transplant such a tree it takes 3 years to start seeing substantial growth so I am looking forward to next summers measurements. The theory of three years goes something like this – A year to recover from shock, a year to establish a strong root system and the third year of extreme growth. I suppose the plants are recovering from transplant shock and developing a strong root system at this stage.
Year Two -Growing but still not “Giants” (August 2013)
I have to admit, growth this year fell a little short of my expectations. In the past year they have grown an additional 17″, 15″ and 13″as seen from front to back. Comparing these numbers to the previous years numbers, the growth rate is striking similar.
Once again, the furthest tree from the house grew the most, likely due to more sun exposure than the others.
I have been continuing with the Osmocote twice a year.
The tree girth is beginning to thicken and they are really starting to spread out.
Year Three – Short of expectations (August 2014)
It’s been three years since I planted my three Green Giant saplings. After last year I was anticipating some major growth this year. However, I was a bit disappointed in the growth over the past 365 days. From front to back they grew 13″, 14″ and 13″. While not growing much taller, they are however becoming noticeably fuller and are very healthy and green. Overall, they are between 5′ to 5.5 ft tall at this point.
Once again, I have been feeding them Osmocote a couple times per year.
Year Four – Slight increase in growth rate (August 2015)
Another year has passed and this time we added 22″, 19″, & 16″ of additional growth. Once again, the tree furthest from the house grew more rapidly than the other two likely because of the additional sunlight. Growth rate this year has surpassed growth in previous years.
The NC winter was rather cold this year which may have had an impact on growth.
Throughout the year I gave them a couple soups of Osmocote.
At this point, they are 6′-7′ tall.
Year Five – Average of 16″ of Growth
At year five I was expecting rapid growth, however, this still does not seem to be the case. On average, my Green Giants grew 16″ since last August. My tallest one, which gets the most sun, stands just under 9′. My shortest one, in the middle is about 7.5′ tall.
Moving forward, I’m not anticipating any huge jumps in height or girth in the upcoming months. It looks like 16″ of growth per year is about as good as it gets. I’m trying to remain optimistic for next year but I’m quickly losing hope.