Many landscape designers recommend turning their attention to that western “Smaragd”, which, although it is quite tall, still looks very compact and does not clutter up the territory. In addition, this tree has a number of other features, but in order for it to grow healthy and strong, you need to take care of it. Let us consider in more detail the description and varieties of this variety, as well as the features of growing a healthy tree and the rules for its propagation.
Thuja western “Smaragd” is a very beautiful tree with a luxurious fluffy crown and very compact sizes, in comparison with many other trees. For example, the maximum height of an adult tree can reach 6 meters, while the crown, in the absence of regular cutting and processing, spreads up to a diameter of 2 meters. This thuja is considered a long-liver, since its average life expectancy is approximately 130 years. At the same time, the growth rate of the tree is quite slow, since the thuja annually adds 15-20 cm in height and only 5 in width. The tree grows rapidly only after planting, when young shoots form a crown, and the root system tends to gain a foothold in fresh soil.
As for the remaining characteristics, the following can be noted.
- The natural shape of the tree is a cone, but thanks to the art of landscape design, you can give it any look.
- Thuja "Smaragd" is an evergreen.
- During flowering on the tree, you can notice small oblong cones of a brown hue.
- Thuja western secretes a special substance - phytoncid, which helps purify the air. That is why thuja landed not only in summer cottages, but also in the city.
- It is this type of plant that can have two color options: green and golden.
- This plant perfectly tolerates winters and polluted environmental conditions.
There are several varieties of this variety of thuja, each of which has its own unique characteristics.
- For example, the cultivar Smaragd Variegata is characterized by a bright green crown, the color of which remains throughout life, decorated with unusual shoots, the ends of which are white. Due to this, this variety is very often used as a decorative element in landscape design.
- “Sunny Smaragd” is a relatively new variety of western thuja, which is characterized by very rapid growth, as well as a pronounced pointed shape of the cone. The branches of the young tree have an orange hue, and the crown is light green, but with age the color of the branches becomes brown, and the needles acquire an emerald tone.
- The Spotty Smaragd variety has a rather loose crown, but despite this, the tree looks quite voluminous and fluffy. This effect is achieved due to the fact that this variety is characterized not by the usual conical shape, but by the wider bottom - the pyramidal shape.
- Thuja “White Smaragd” is the most capricious regarding the conditions of its growth. It is very sensitive to polluted environmental conditions, therefore, tree growth is slowed to a minimum. But if you place it in a sunny place with well-drained soil, your tree will look incomparable.
- Thuja western "Silver Smaragd" has a characteristic feature in the form of a loose crown shape, as well as lighter shoot ends. This variety is slow-growing, so it is perfect for planting in small areas.
The best time to land
In order for the tree to take root, it is necessary to determine the correct time for planting it. This is very important, because in certain time periods and under certain climatic conditions, the plant can simply die. For example, during sudden frosts or when the sun is too bright in the open. It is believed that the most suitable period for planting this plant in open ground is early spring , the period until sap flow begins, but the soil has already warmed up to the optimum state. Approximate landing dates are determined by March-April, but you still need to take into account both the climate and weather conditions in the region where you live. That is, in southern cities, a tree can be planted much earlier than in the north of the country.
Spring is good because during this period active development and growth of shoots and roots begins, it will be easier for the seedling to take root, take root, and it will certainly be able to get stronger after planting and survive the winter afterwards.
For those who are late for spring planting, there are other terms. For example, the summer period, before the onset of extreme heat. But it is very important to observe the temperature regime, and it is strictly forbidden to plant a plant at noon in the scorching sun . Therefore, the best option for a summer thuja landing is an early cool morning, when the air temperature has not yet reached 18-20 degrees. In addition, when planting a plant in the summer, you need to take care of its safety and arrange for it a cool shady space. You can cover with a cloth or install a special canopy, which will at first block the fragile plant from burning sunlight.
For those who plan to plant thuja in the autumn, there are separate recommendations, since this process requires special attention and has many nuances. For example, it is very important to take into account the fact that the root system of a planted plant in autumn has not yet strengthened, but it will have to survive the winter, which will come much earlier than during spring or even summer planting.
First of all, when planting a tree in the fall, you should not put it off too late, because with the onset of cold weather, a freshly planted thuja can simply die. After planting, it will be necessary to cover the soil near the roots. To do this, you can use dry leaves, straw or just waste from the compost pit - this will help protect the fragile plant from the coming frosts. In addition, in case of heavy rainfall, it is necessary to clear the snow from the tree, since under strong pressure it can break. And, of course, it will be necessary to fix the tree with taut ropes from four sides, this will help strengthen its condition and create support for the trunk.
How to plant?
Before you start planting a tree, you need to choose a suitable place, which is also important. The right place is the key to the healthy growth of your tree, because if all the conditions are met, you will be able to avoid yellowing the branches, and shedding needles. It is preferable to plant thuja near the fence, at some distance from it and other trees. But it is necessary to choose a place near the fence so that the tree is always provided with constant sunlight, without which its development and growth would be impossible. It is worth noting the fact that at the fence the tree trunk will not be constantly in the sun, so its overheating and burning will also be excluded.
In addition, the thuja is very difficult to survive the winter winds, so this placement will also help protect the tree from drafts and protect it in the cold period.
It is important to choose a place so that the tree is not constantly in the shade, as this will affect its growth and development of needles - the lack of sufficient sunlight will make the tree never lush, and the coniferous branches will begin to crumble and thin. It is also necessary to exclude places where large trees with a powerful root system are already located , since such a neighborhood will impede the beneficial development of thuja, as well as places with a close location of groundwater, since moisture stagnation is detrimental to this tree.
Choosing a suitable place, it is necessary to determine the possible neighborhood of this plant: will it grow alone or are you planning to plant a whole hedge from thuja. And if in the first case everything is simple, then in the second you should know several important nuances:
- for planting a hedge it is necessary to place trees at a distance of 50-70 centimeters from each other;
- so that the fence is massive and dense, it is better to arrange the trees in a checkerboard pattern in two rows;
- do not plant a hedge if the space of the site does not allow this.
When the place and landing options are determined, you must proceed directly to the process. Let's consider step-by-step landing technology in more detail.
- First of all, it is necessary to organize a landing pit, the depth of which should be up to 1 m, and the diameter - up to 80 cm.
- The bottom of the pit must be fertilized by filling with a special soil mixture recommended for growing thuja. You can also prepare the soil yourself by adding turf soil, humus and peat to its composition.
- Fertilizers can be used for fast growth.
- A plant located in a temporary pot needs to be watered with a root growth stimulator, and only after half an hour after irrigation can planting begin.
- It is necessary to fill the pit with a soil mixture so that the seedling does not go too deep under the ground. The root neck should be located several centimeters above the ground level, since with the subsidence of the soil the plant itself will take the desired position.
- Then you need to remove the plant from the pot as carefully as possible without damaging the trunk and roots.
- After this, the seedling should be placed in the pit and fill its space halfway.
- The next step is to water the plants with water in an amount equal to the volume of one bucket. This will have a beneficial effect on soil shrinkage.
- After completely absorbing water, you can fill up the hole to the end, tamping the soil.
- When the hole is completely filled, you need to make a small hole and water the plant again with the same amount of water.
- Upon completion of all these procedures, the hole for irrigation will need to be mulched, using peat, compost or chopped wood waste.
As you can see, the landing process is quite simple, the main thing is to adhere to all these rules. Do not forget to cover your seedling or provide it with shady space - this will help to avoid burns.
In the period after planting, the tree will need special care and active support with nutrients, and it is very important to provide it with everything necessary. It's no secret that this tree loves moisture very much, that's why watering will be the main component of caring for the thuja - both during the active phase of growth and throughout life. Weekly tree needs 30-40 liters of water, depending on the climate and weather conditions. It should be noted that when watering the soil subsidence is peculiar, therefore, it will need to be replenished as necessary. In addition, it should be irrigated from time to time by sprinkling - completely spraying the tree. This will help saturate the shoots of needles, as well as clean it of dirt, dust and dried particles.
Six months after planting, it will be necessary to introduce the first top dressing of the young tree, which will need to be determined based on the time of planting.
- If a tree is planted in autumn or early spring, fertilizing will need to be done, respectively, in spring or summer. For these purposes, ammonium nitrate or simple urea is suitable. Various complex preparations may also be used.
- For trees planted in the early summer period, top dressing will be needed in late autumn, but it is better not to delay and do this in September-October, before the onset of severe cold. Peat, bone meal, wood ash or the most ordinary compost are perfect for these purposes.
In addition to watering and feeding, the plant also needs a haircut. You need to be especially careful with this process, as careless movements, unnecessarily cut needles and scratches on the trunk can harm the general condition of your arborvitae. Trimming is divided into two types:
- sanitary carried out in the spring;
- formative, which should be carried out in the fall.
Sanitary pruning involves the removal of yellowed parts of needles, frozen shoots and dead branches. If the tree is to be covered for the winter, you should not prune it right after you open it. Branches need a few days to fluff and come to a natural state. You can also trim a live, intact crown, with the goal of giving the tree a certain shape. It is worth knowing that such a haircut does not harm the thuja, but on the contrary, it saturates the branches with oxygen.
Autumn pruning is done in early September. During this period, preparation for winter occurs, so it is necessary to cut off all long branches that may interfere with a successful wintering. Experts recommend not to divide the haircut into two procedures, but to regularly trim the branches, cutting up to 15 centimeters twice a month.
In addition, an adult tree must be regularly fed with various fertilizers, which are usually added to watering. It is best that they are environmentally friendly organic compounds that do not harm either the tree itself or its root system and soil. All these fairly simple rules of care will help you enjoy the luxurious look of a healthy crown of your tree for many years.
So that the tree does not die in a particularly cold period, it must be properly prepared for wintering. First of all, you should carefully cover the tree. It has already been mentioned that thuja is very sensitive to strong winds and drafts, so a reliable shelter will help protect the tree from these factors. It is worth noting that adult tall plants are more frost-resistant , so there is no need to cover thuja, whose height is more than 2-3 meters. This rule applies only to weak, small and young trees.
For shelter, it is better to choose a light material with wind-resistant qualities. Do not cover thawed with woven material that can get wet, freeze and harm the tree. In addition, woven materials pass air very well, so the tree will be unprotected from the winds. The material must be wrapped around the tree, leaving no open spaces, and securely tied with a rope. You will also need to cover the root system. But it is worth noting that for this you need to use exclusively natural materials that will not impede the entry of moisture into the soil. In addition, natural materials will subsequently be subject to decay, and will become an excellent fertilizer for wood.
With the onset of spring, when the time comes to open the tree, it is necessary to secure it by setting a shadow screen. It is very important to do this, since the thuja crown after opening will be most vulnerable to the sun's rays, which can burn it. It is also worth saying that preparation for winter should not be delayed, all these procedures will need to be done by mid-autumn, before the onset of cold weather.
When reproducing thuja, you need to be very careful, because this process, if performed incorrectly, will not only not produce results, but will also harm the adult tree. A plant can be propagated in several ways:
- by seeds;
The most popular is the cuttings, as this process is considered more simple and understandable among gardeners. But it is necessary to produce reproduction in this way exclusively in the spring, so that the adult tree has time to recover, and the stem - to take root.
For propagation in this way, it is necessary to separate the tops of the round-trunk branches of an adult tree, then the thuja will have a characteristic appearance and color. Separating the tops of other branches may cause the tree to have a different shape and a different shade of crown. The shank should have a length of up to 15 centimeters, its base should be cleaned and treated from various fungal diseases. After processing, the cuttings are planted in a container with a hole so that the soil is regularly drained, and placed in a bright, warm place.
The rooting process of cuttings can last up to 5 months, and during two of them, watering of future seedlings must be carried out as a spray, thereby feeding the plant completely. When the deadline is over, the young tree can be transplanted into the open ground. Unlike propagation by cuttings, branch propagation by layering occurs only when it has already taken root in the soil. To do this, it must be rejected in advance, sprinkled with soil and sod mixture, and regularly watered, fed with fertilizers.
As for seed propagation, you should know that the seeds on an adult tree ripen closer to autumn, and in order to be suitable for growing, you need to collect the cones before they open. Then the cones are dried in a dry place, opened, and seeds are extracted from them. Before sowing, they will need to be soaked for 10-12 hours, then placed in soil to a depth of 30 centimeters. In places of sowing, the soil will need to be covered so that the seeds are not damaged by various weather conditions.
Diseases and Pests
Like any other plant, the western thuja is exposed to various kinds of pests, as well as some diseases. Consider the most dangerous of them, as well as get acquainted with the methods of struggle. A disease such as late blight has a fungal origin and is considered one of the most dangerous for thuja. External signs of this disease are as follows:
- the crown withers and acquires a gray tint;
- the trunk of the tree becomes softer in the lower part;
- plaque appears on the branches and trunk;
- the roots begin to break and rot, acquiring a characteristic smell.
Methods of struggle:
- regular watering with fungicides;
- in the absence of a positive effect, the tree will have to be destroyed by replacing the soil under it, since the fungus can lurk and harm other plants that will later be placed in the same soil.
Brown shoots are also classified as fungal diseases. It manifests itself in the early spring and has characteristic features:
- yellowed scaly particles appear;
- shoots are struck, and then die.
Methods of struggle:
- regular top dressing and treatment of the root area with limestone;
- spraying with "Fundazole";
- removal of affected shoots in order to prevent the spread of the disease.
Thuja pseudoscutis is another rather dangerous disease, because if untreated, it can even lead to the death of a tree. Like any other disease, pseudoscutum has the characteristic features:
- yellow ulcers on the cortex;
- stain spread.
Methods of struggle:
- the use of specialized tools;
- enveloping the trunk with burlap or hay;
- processing branches with an alcohol solution or glue from the tracks.
There are also diseases such as shute and rust, they are fungal in nature and affect mainly young trees. To combat these diseases, they use special products that can be bought at any store for gardeners.
Use in landscape design
As mentioned earlier, western arborvitae are very often used in landscape design, since they are very beautiful, environmentally friendly trees, and also lend themselves perfectly to shearing and crown formation. You can plant arborvitae in any way, depending on what result you want to get.
- It can be a hedge of trees, providing not only coolness and shadow space on the site, but also constant air purification.
- It can be a single tree, which is easy to give absolutely any decorative shape. In this case, the tree can be combined with decorative masonry or other small plants.
- It is also possible to plant these trees in small groups, forming some decorative corners.
It all depends on your imagination, but it is worth noting that in any case, the thuja will become the decoration of your site.
For how to properly care for the western thuja "Smaragd", see the next video.