SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
dsjnj

Zone 7a, Emerald Green or Green Giant Arborvitae

G B
5 years ago

I am attempting to create a 50 foot long privacy screen along my fence in the back of my yard where I border my neighbors. My yard is only 25 feet deep from back of the house to this fence I plan to line with trees.

Originally I was going to go with green giants, but I am concerned I dont have the space. Can I trim these to keep them narrow? Would emerald greens be a better choice?

Comments (51)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    5 years ago

    NOT GGs ....too much potential ...


    one always get best advice telling us where you are ... perhaps NJ? .. zone itself is a bit vague .... big city name good enough ...


    look into de groots spire ... much thinner ... flip to images:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Thuja+occidentalis+%27DeGroot%27s+Spire%27&t=ffcm&ia=web


    as trees.. conifers never really stop growing ... i am wondering if there are power lines along the property line ...


    all thuja.. arbs.. can be trimmed ... but i often suggest one is limited by how high you can work on a ladder .... SAFELY .... its nice to think you can keep something at say.. 15 feet ... but then you are standing on top of an 8 foot ladder ... and thats not safe ... i just bring it up so you can conceptualize your ideas in reality ...


    ken


  • PRO
    Revolutionary Gardens
    5 years ago

    If you have to trim or shear it to fit, a green giant's not the right plant. As far as emeralds, do you have deer in the area?

  • Related Discussions

    Emerald Green Arborvitae Advice

    Q

    Comments (28)
    I have planted about 40 Emerald Green Arborvitae and I need to plant 40 more. Lowes sold them but they are not ordering anymore. The supplier is in Canada and they're called Selenca(?) or something like that. I need to find out if I can order directly from them - I want to keep the same/similar arborvitae - and some of the nurseries around here have them but they do not look similar.... any help out there ? Thanks -Ray
    ...See More

    Hetz Wintergreen VS Green Giant and Emerald green

    Q

    Comments (5)
    hello from_lv, I'm wondering what zone your in and will any shade be involved with your planting. The quick short answer your looking for is more dense like emerald green. Even though in 100% full sun in my zone7 I know of some dense green giants. keep in mind if your thinking of screening spacing plays a big roll.
    ...See More

    Emerald Green Arborvitaes Changing Colors Again

    Q

    Comments (3)
    Ok the 2nd picture the trees on both sides are a lot greener. Also in the last picture the tree next to it has a bit of the leaves showing that are greener. The 3rd picture is a different tree. it looks like some of the leaves have a reddish color on them. But all three have a large portion of the tree that is turning orangish yellow.
    ...See More

    Emerald Green Arborvitae in Clay?

    Q

    Comments (6)
    dig another hole.. and perk your soil ... this will give you some great info for the future ....https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffcm&q=perk+your+soil&ia=web the stone in bottom.. probably doesnt do anything.. but wont hurt ... worms will either stay or go .. no harm though ... great time of year to plant .. day heat should be lessening.. night heat easily dissipated ... this is a tree.. things happen in tree time ... so dont have high expectations of SEEING much of anything happening anytime soon ... water properly.. deeply and infrequently ... let it near dry in between drying ... this time of year ... there usually isnt the heat to dry the soil.. down at root level .. even in your zone ... so dont love it to death by watering too much ... and just skip watering if there is any significant rain .. keep checking ... i would prefer you learn to use a finger.. rather than a gizmo .. for the long run.. so use both until you dont need the gizmo ... the next important period.. would be when the heat starts building next summer ... then we would be concerned with the watering again ... its in transplant shock due to the whole process... its not hungry.. no fert .. clay is usually very fertile ... one thing you didnt mention ... were the roots badly circling the pot??? to repeat.. dont try to kill it with too much love.. just relax.. water it properly ... .. ken
    ...See More
  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    As others have alluded to, you just don't have the space for Green Giants. The name says it all - they will eat up a 25' garden pretty rapidly :-) And few people are willing to put out the time and effort necessary to prune them frequently to maintain a manageable size.

    'Smaragd' - Emerald Green arbs - are so incredibly popular and widely sold for a very good reason.....they remain in size and with a narrow profile and fit in just about any situation and make an ideal privacy screen.

    Unfortunately, "mixing it up" with a variety of plant choices is not always feasible as there are few other plants - other than some other arborvitae selections - that have the size specs and versatility of the Emeralds.

    But the cautions about deer and proper watering to get them established are valid.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    LOL!! We call them deer lollipops here :-)

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Thanks for the replies. For clarification, yes I am in NJ.

    Here is a shot of my back yard. As you can tell, I don't have much space between the rear fence (left of picture) and the back of my house. My plan was to plant some type of tall growing arborvitae along that fence in the left of the pic.



    What you cant quite tell from the pic is that my neighbor is elevated, hence the reason for the trees (privacy). We were considering a 6 foot fence there but because my neighbor is higher, it would do almost nothing for privacy.

    We do have deer in the area but I have seen other neighbors with Emeralds that don't appear to have been eaten and they are in front yards,

    Do these look like emeralds in this pic?




  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    Hard to say at that distance. They are arborvitae for sure but there are dozens of cultivars and they all look more or less similar at any distance :-) Emeralds are usually uniformly narrow from base to crown (although young, still growing plants will produce a pointier top), seldom exceed 12-15' in height and 3' in width, and have dense foliage held in flat sprays that is a very deep, rich, green (hence the name) and doesn't bronze or discolor in winter.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Yea, they don't look like green giants though and they are pretty tall and seem to be doing well right in front of that house there. That's basically what I am looking for along the back fence.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    Although they are usually referred to with that common name, Green Giants are not really 'true' arborvitaes. That is generally restricted to cultivars of Thuja occidentalis (aka American arborvitae). Green Giants are a hybrid of two completely different Thuja species, neither of which maintains a narrow, columnar profle and both of which get significantly taller than the standard arb.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    5 years ago

    snow load is an issue on multiple trunked trees ... when they get tall.. they can splay ... this is not an issue with de groots ...


    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=arbs+splay&t=ffcm&iax=images&ia=images


    sooo.. no matter what you decide on.. try to insure single leader plants ... if you start smallish.. you can reduce leaders .. if you go large.. a big investment.. insist your seller gets what you want...


    understand.. you are working with trees ... this project is going to mature in tree time ... no real instant gratification ....


    if this is DYI ... see link below.. proper timing is imperative.. and fall is a great time ... but in the mean time.. you can be removing the sod .. and making a 4 to 5 foot wide bed in front of the fence ...


    the next best planting time is early spring .. and if you have to wait until then.. to order in what you want.. not much lost .... in terms of tree time ...


    ken


    ps: https://sites.google.com/site/tnarboretum/Home/planting-a-tree-or-shrub

  • PRO
    Yardvaark
    5 years ago

    Rev, the photo of the deer-trimmed AVs has an eclectic appeal in that they are all trimmed relatively uniformly. If keeping the narrow shape were paramount, I'd be tempted to bring in scaffolding so the deer could finish the job.

  • Embothrium
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Yes: the ones in front of the white house look quite like 'Smaragd'*, as far as can be seen using only the one distance shot. However deer may ignore plantings of a food plant for years and then browse them heavily during a hard winter - somewhat oddly although these animals occur naturally in snow country they have chronic problem with finding anything to eat when there is much snow. You could have your planting develop nicely for years without interference only to have deer there suddenly go for it one winter. Without fencing deer out you will never be able to count on getting by without any browsing of your garden by them. This includes sampling of plants that they then find out they don't like. And damage from the rubbing off of velvet, that does not involve any browsing at all.

    If rapid height is your main goal there you do in fact have enough horizontal space for the 'Green Giant' to fit, and still have a pretty fair amount left over. Providing you don't mind living within a tall wall of green, or having that feature present when attempting to sell the property later. That for me is the main recurring issue with plantings of this cultivar on many sites - the eventual height of these hedges, and the psychological effects this height will have on users of these properties once the plantings have sized up.

    As well as how much shade they will produce - it is the same general situation as with all of the towering, gloomy Leyland cypress screens that have been planted in later years. And for which 'Green Giant' has been recommended as a substitute - in eastern North American climates.

    Height and width: To 60 feet tall with a 12–20 foot spread at
    maturity; 30 feet at 30 years

    https://www.usna.usda.gov/assets/images/as_standard_image/Thuja_Green_Giant.pdf

    *Measured 17 ft. tall in Seattle (USDA 8) in 2005. And still growing taller the whole time since, of course

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Here are a few pictures of what my in-laws have at their house. This is all I am looking for:






    They are providing an excellent screen, some ~15 feet tall and the bed they dont take up much space in the yard. Do they look like emeralds?


    They have another few trees in the back that look more like green giants to me





    This one is much wider at the bottom and has a 'looser' appearance which provides less privacy.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Emerald green easily get 3’ diameter. I planted a row of 5(various sizes), 5 years ago @ 42” spacing. Wish I would have spaced 48” or more as the larger ones are touching.

  • Embothrium
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    >Do they look like emeralds?<

    Yes: the ones you like are 'Smaragd'. Note that it will take years for a new planting to reach that same size. And you will have to keep deer away, should any come around looking for arborvitae foliage some winter.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I was thinking of buying some 6 footers to minimize the wait time for privacy. Green giants would be better in this regard I suppose, but I think they just get too big for my space.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    There are also intermediate sized arborvitae, like Techney arborvitae and dark green arborvitae. Youd be looking at 12-15 emerald greens or perhaps half (or less) as many of the other two. If it was me, Id get 12 emerald greens and watch them grow into a wall. Big fan of E.G.’s for sure. Nice clean look always with little maintenance and Ive yet to kill one.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Yea I was thinking 15 emeralds.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    The Emeralds will be a much better fit than the GG's. Don't be fooled by comments that those will fit in your garden........unless you care to have no other space to do anthing else!! They can develop a base that gets up to 20' wide, possibly more, and they can do so pretty darn fast. You will wind up with a backyard that is just a dark green cave!!

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My “Wall of 5” lol. May pic.




  • User
    5 years ago

    I agree. With an existing fence, you'll only need several feet above the fence to gain some privacy. And with the EG's planted fairly close together, there won't be much space between them by the time they get that tall.

    I'd start out with smaller specimens, they'll get established faster and end up taller in the long run than larger trees will.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    5 years ago

    I was thinking of buying some 6 footers to minimize the wait time for privacy.


    ==>>>


    review what i said above.. about tree time ...


    the larger the transplant.. the longer it will take to overcome stress from shipping from grower.. to seller.. to your house.. and then planting ....


    and then to grow the root mass needed to become established and start growing to specs.... it is often suggested.. that the roots of a tree are at least as big.. if not twice as big as what you see above ground ... and if you think about a 6 foot tree in a .. maybe a 2 foot pot ... you can conceptualize that it will take a few years.. for them to get established .... and start growing with vigor ... and that is a part of what i call tree time ...


    and that would be in the full sun that these trees would prefer .. when you start talking about shade and other variables being off perfect .. you slow things down even further ...


    some peeps.. even suggest that smaller transplants .. in perfect conditions.. get over the stresses.. get established faster... and start growing with vigor faster ... and outgrow the larger.. instant gratification transplants in a few years ...


    can your parents provide any history of the trees you covet .. it would be interesting to know ...


    anyway ... the privacy you need and want.. would probably be fastest accomplished.. by putting down a patio and using some 6 foot wooden fence sections.. to create a 'room'.. where .. when you are lazing on the patio furniture.. you have some semblance of privacy ... meanwhile planting the trees along the fence line so that in 10 years.. when the fence sections rot.. the trees will have had the time to mature and replace them ...



    you could also plant some smaller potential trees ... in the mid lawn so as to create more privacy in your room ... maybe something like a redbud .... though you dont have enough yard.. to go into the monster trees.. and especially anything that claims to be 'fast growing' ...


    think outside your box.. of solving your issue at the property line.. and you will have many more options and solutions ...


    and again .. i just dont see you solving this issue anytime inside the next ten years ... with trees and conifers.. or shrubs ...


    ken





  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    Depending on your budget, the privacy issue could be solved overnight!! It is quite possible to find much taller, more mature EG's around - my nursery routinely sells 10 footers, but they sell out fast!! I have had numerous clients who have opted for these for more immediate privacy issues and they do fine once planted, provided they get the proper care. But they are expensive.....you are paying for the time and effort it took the grower to get them to that size.

    So you do not have to start out small if you are willing to make a larger investment. Just make sure you are purchasing from a reliable source that offers at least a one year warranty.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    A 6 foot fence will do nothing for privacy in my yard. The neighbor behind the fence is elevated. If they were level with me I would just do a 6 foot fence and call it a day. Unfortunately I need taller which was the impetus for the trees along the fence.

  • User
    5 years ago

    Maybe not Holly but thinking outside the box, maybe something deciduous? They could be bought at a larger size, so you could have immediate privacy at the top of the fence?

    The picture is just for the idea of something other than arborvitae.


  • Embothrium
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I made it clear what I was talking about, there is 25 ft. of space between the house and the fence. If fast growth during the early years was the top priority, over any other consideration the larger growing choice would have been the one to make. With - according to the public agency that introduced 'Green Giant' - a 12-20 ft. average crown spread being effectively the ultimate size. As in one developed after decades of growth.

    Later in the discussion it was then stated that something like the 'Smaragd' was really what the original poster wanted in the first place.

  • jpm995
    5 years ago

    Looking at your yard the emeralds would be perfect. Their size [15'h x 3'w] makes for privacy even if your property is a little lower. The giants grow so tall and wide you'll have no yard left. Plus the emeralds have a very formal look unlike the gg's. The only downside is you'll need more of them.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    With a 25' depth between the fence and the house, there will be NO garden left to speak of if planting the Green Giants.....5-10' max after a reasonably short amount of time. And I can't imagine many homeowners will be enamoured by a solid 25'+ wall of green immediately or very closely adjacent to the house. They are simply not the right choice for so narrow a planting space!

  • Embothrium
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Here is what I said, which apparently needs to be repeated:

    If rapid height is your main goal there you do in fact have enough horizontal space for the 'Green Giant' to fit, and still have a pretty fair amount left over. Providing you don't mind living within a tall wall of green, or having that feature present when attempting to sell the property later. That for me is the main recurring issue with plantings of this cultivar on many sites - the eventual height of these hedges, and the psychological effects this height will have on users of these properties once the plantings have sized up.

    As well as how much shade they will produce - it is the same general situation as with all of the towering, gloomy Leyland cypress screens that have been planted in later years. And for which 'Green Giant' has been recommended as a substitute - in eastern North American climates.

  • alley_cat_gw_7b
    5 years ago
    Hi dsjnj, I'm sure you know gg's are too large if you want any yard at all. I just measured one of my EG's outside and the end one is over 13' tall x 5' wide at chest height.
    shovel for scale.
  • alley_cat_gw_7b
    5 years ago
    I recommend don't buy too big and plant in the fall. I'm below you 7b Md.
  • enjay2014
    5 years ago

    Hi! There, coming from the same state & zone, im in similar situation as you. My neighbor's house isnt elevated but their deck is & they love that deck, making privacy a problem. First year i moved here i tried planting 5 foot Emerald arborvitaes. This was before i learned that it will take them 20 years before they reach mature height of about 15 feet. So i removed them the second year & replaced 40 emeralds with 40 American pillar arborvitaes. You will love how narrow this is & how fast it grows, the growth rate of 3 feet per year, but the issue right now is the foliage being thin. I only have 9 feet between my neighbor & me & this arborvitae is just the perfect width. I took these picts just now. Theyre 4 years old, the tallest is more than 12 feet, the smaller ones are about 10 feet.


  • enjay2014
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago
  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Enjay thanks for that info. Good stuff. I worry about the sparseness though with the AP.


    I took some pics around my neighborhood of some other people's 'privacy hedges' Do these all look like GG, or Nigra or similar? Maybe leland?









    They look relatively 'narrow' and very tall. I just don't want to end up planting the EGs and have them too short and do not much for privacy.


    I can get 5-6' EGs for $90 each, or 6-7' for $140.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    So I went with the EG,s. Got 21 6-7 footers for $850 delivered. Was the best price around.

    I am trying to avoid feeling like enjay in that I dont want to wait 20 years for the height, but again those APs just seem a little to sparse for their desired effect.


    Most of the trees look pretty good, though I have a couple with secondary leaders.






    This is the worst offender of the secondary leader issue:




    Should I cut the second leader? Tie the two together?



  • socalnolympia
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I really hate these "privacy hedges". A lot of times they are completely hideous. Can't anyone think up a more creative species besides a drab row of Arborvitae? Even then, it kind of blocks the whole open flow and makes things seem more enclosed. Not necessarily what you want if you have a small yard to begin with.

    If you wanted more privacy, maybe you shouldn't have bought the house in the first place.

    It also leads to a nightmare of disease issues if your neighbor has any apple trees (for your neighbor).

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    5 years ago

    With the vast majority of current residential developments, privacy is a luxury few are blessed with. Lots are simply too small to be able to afford real privacy from your neighbors without some sort of plant material to provide it. Not everyone has the financial wherewithal to afford the privacy that comes with significant real estate, especially if they live in a semi-urban area. And arborvitaes make excellent privacy screens for the very reason that they grow just about anywhere, are evergreen and do not take up too much real estate. They may be "boring" but they are the poster child for privacy screens.

    "It also leads to a nightmare of disease issues if your neighbor has any apple trees (for your neighbor)."

    Would love to know the rationale behind this contention.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I think the emeralds look great, privacy aside.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Socalolympia is thinking of cedar apple rust, for which Juniper, not arborvitae is the host.

    http://www.mortonarb.org/trees-plants/tree-and-plant-advice/help-diseases/cedar-apple-rust

  • Embothrium
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    >Can't anyone think up a more creative species besides a drab row of Arborvitae?<

    'Smaragd' is not drab, if anything the richness of its coloring - along with its pointed shape - are what can make it appear overbearing. Because these two characteristics cause plantings of it to draw attention away from other landscape elements. Instead of remaining in the background visually.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I love walls of emerald green arborvitae, especially their texture, color, and fullness/density. Here is a pic I took about an hour ago at Muirfield golf course(Memorial tournament). Love the wider spacing, this is gonna be a killer wall in 10+ years(road is to left of bike path, need to focus on putt). Looks like they disregarded the internet, which generally suggests 2’-3’ spacing for wall, when deciding on spacing(check out the dead one). If Jack Nicklaus approves Thuja Occidentalis Smaragd as a privacy screen, then they must be good lol. Id say 21, 5-6 footers for 850 is a good deal. Still small enough to “become one with the ground/established” rather quickly. Even the 10+ footer I planted 5 years ago did good, though the smaller the tree, the quicker they get established. I have seen tiny tots outgrow larger trees on more than one occasion. I didnt believe what people were telling me until I witnessed it. All the $5, 1.5-2 foot Smaragd I planted 4-5 years ago are gettin close to 5’, some might be more. In looking at the pic, and knowing that there are lots of deer here, (some of) these may be getting deer pruned, though just a bit. The right two perhaps.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Well the EGs are planted. I wish I planted them a tad higher to make mulching easier but oh well. As you can see I will need to wait a while before I get any real privacy out of them, but I still think its better than a 6 foot fence.


    Now help me keep them alive. How much/often should I water them now, and how much/what type of mulch should I use?





  • treebarb Z5 Denver
    5 years ago

    Soak them to saturation at planting, soak them again the next day. After that, get your fingers in the rootballs every other day or so and check for moisture. It's more of a when they need it than a schedule thing. If you have clay soil that's prone to settling, I'd get a few waterings in to make sure you're happy with the planting depth before adding mulch. The type of mulch you choose will depend on your preference, but do mulch.

    Nice planting job!

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Looks great! I encourage you to take a pic every year at this time for the next 10-15 years and report back(nice pictoral reference for others). :) Did you go with a certain spacing or just plant them? I hope you get as much enjoyment as I do watching them grow from year to year. Its a lot of fun seeing it transform from many individuals into one wall.

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I planted them 30'' apart. Hoping to get some privacy sooner than later :|


    Not sure I will still be in this house in 10 years but I plan to take progress pics

  • socalnolympia
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Japanese cherry "seedlings" (small twigs that have been rooted and are growing on their own roots) grow really fast, if you have the right climate. In the PNW, I had one that went from just a foot and a half to seven feet high after just a year and two months. I'm sure the rate of growth will be even faster next year, since it has already established.

  • enjay2014
    5 years ago

    I spaced my emeralds at 30 inches apart too & i think its the best distance as they formed a wall in about 3 years. Emeralds grow about a foot a year, at 5 years old my emeralds are about 9 feet tall. I started with 5 feet tall ones back in 2013. I think they dont grow much the first year. At that height its not enough to give much privacy from my neighbors deck. So i expect to wait 5 more years to get any privacy. At that time theyll be full grown at 14 feet.

  • User
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    These were planted 4-5 years ago @ 1.5’ +/-($5). They were planted at the same time and their height correlates with sun received. Shady site. The dawn redwoods on the other side were planted as bare root cuttings 15 years ago. Fence is taller than most.


    deer pruned

  • G B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    enjay how are your APs doing?

  • enjay2014
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My American pillars arborvitaes are mostly the same as my above post at end of August. They usually slow down in growth when it starts getting cold. Theyre planted where my neighbors deck is, the emrralds were moved down the driveway.


    Heres a pict of my Emeralds. I planted them in April 2013, transplanted most of them in June 2014. The tree on the right was the only one not transplanted.