How To Plant Green Giant Arborvitae [ Full Guide ]

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’) is a popular and versatile evergreen tree that is widely used in landscaping for its fast growth, dense foliage, and elegant conical shape. It is an ideal choice for creating privacy screens, windbreaks, or adding vertical interest to the landscape. Planting Green Giant Arborvitae requires careful consideration of the planting site, soil composition, and timing. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of planting Green Giant Arborvitae to ensure the successful establishment and long-term growth of these majestic trees.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Green Giant Arborvitae

  • Select a planting site with well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade.
  • Prepare the soil by removing weeds, loosening the top layer, and amending with organic matter if necessary.
  • Plant Green Giant Arborvitae in spring or early fall.
  • Dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball, place the tree in the hole, and backfill with soil.
  • Water the tree thoroughly after planting and continue to provide regular watering and mulching to promote healthy growth.

Selection Of Suitable Planting Site

Before planting Green Giant Arborvitae, it’s essential to carefully select a suitable planting site that meets the specific requirements of these trees. Green Giant Arborvitae thrives in full sun to partial shade, so choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The site should also have well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other health issues for the tree.

In addition to sunlight and soil drainage, consider the ultimate size of Green Giant Arborvitae when selecting the planting site. These trees can reach heights of 30 to 40 feet with a spread of 12 to 20 feet, so ensure that there is ample space for the tree to grow without obstruction from buildings, power lines, or other trees.

Soil Preparation For Green Giant Arborvitae

Proper soil preparation is crucial for the successful establishment and healthy growth of Green Giant Arborvitae. Start by clearing the planting area of any weeds, rocks, or debris. Loosen the top 12 to 18 inches of soil using a shovel or garden fork to promote better root penetration and water infiltration.

Conduct a soil test to assess the pH level and nutrient content of the soil. Green Giant Arborvitae thrives in slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5. If the soil pH is outside of this range, consider amending the soil with elemental sulfur to lower the pH or lime to raise it, as necessary.

Incorporate organic matter such as well-rotted compost or peat moss into the soil to improve its structure, fertility, and moisture retention capabilities. This will provide a nutrient-rich environment for the tree’s roots and enhance overall soil health.

Choosing The Right Planting Time

The timing of planting plays a critical role in the successful establishment of Green Giant Arborvitae. Ideally, plant these trees in spring or early fall to take advantage of mild temperatures and favorable growing conditions. Avoid planting during the peak of summer or the harsh winter months, as extreme temperatures and weather conditions can stress the tree and impede its ability to acclimate to the new environment.

Spring planting allows the tree to take advantage of the upcoming growing season to establish its root system and acclimate to its new surroundings. On the other hand, planting in early fall provides the tree with sufficient time to develop strong roots before the onset of winter dormancy.

Steps For Planting Green Giant Arborvitae

Follow these steps to ensure the successful planting of Green Giant Arborvitae:

  1. Prepare the Tree: Before planting, carefully remove the tree from its container and inspect the root system. Gently loosen any circling roots and prune any damaged or excessively long roots to encourage healthy growth.

  2. Dig the Planting Hole: Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper. The width of the planting hole should allow ample space for the roots to spread and establish. The depth should be equivalent to the height of the root ball to ensure the tree is planted at the correct level.

  3. Plant the Tree: Place the Green Giant Arborvitae in the center of the planting hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill the hole with the soil that was originally removed, gently firming the soil as you fill to remove air pockets. Water the tree to settle the soil around the roots.

  4. Watering and Mulching: Provide the newly planted tree with a thorough watering to ensure that the roots are adequately hydrated. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the tree, leaving a gap between the mulch and the trunk to prevent moisture-related issues.

  5. Staking (if necessary): In some cases, staking may be required to support the newly planted tree and prevent it from being uprooted by strong winds. Use flexible ties to attach the tree to stakes, making sure not to constrict the trunk or branches.

  6. Maintenance: After planting, monitor the tree regularly for adequate moisture and any signs of stress or disease. Water the tree deeply and consistently, especially during dry periods, to support healthy growth and root establishment.

Planting Green Giant Arborvitae is a rewarding endeavor that can enhance the beauty and functionality of any landscape. By carefully choosing a suitable planting site, preparing the soil, selecting the right planting time, and following the proper planting techniques, you can ensure the successful establishment and long-term growth of these elegant evergreen trees. With the right care and attention, Green Giant Arborvitae can thrive and become a stunning focal point in your outdoor space, providing privacy, structure, and natural beauty for years to come.

Digging The Planting Hole

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja plicata ‘Green Giant’) is a popular evergreen tree known for its impressive height, dense foliage, and fast growth rate. It is an excellent choice for privacy screens, windbreaks, or as a focal point in any landscape.

RELATED  How To Plant Lantana [ Full Guide ]

Before you begin planting Green Giant Arborvitae, it is crucial to prepare the planting hole properly. Follow these steps for digging the planting hole:

  1. Choose the right location: Green Giant Arborvitae thrives in full sun to partial shade, so select a spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. The soil should be well-draining, as waterlogged soil can harm the tree’s roots.

  2. Measure and mark the planting hole: The size of the planting hole should be approximately 2-3 times wider than the tree’s root ball and slightly shallower. Use a rope or hose to mark the perimeter of the hole.

  3. Begin digging: Start digging the hole with a round-point shovel or a spade. Dig a trench just inside the marked perimeter, about 6-8 inches deep. This initial trench will be used for removing the soil during the next step.

  4. Remove soil from the trench: Carefully remove the soil from the first trench and set it aside. This soil will be used later when backfilling the hole.

  5. Continue digging: After removing the soil from the first trench, start digging the actual hole. Dig down to the appropriate depth, which we will discuss in the next section. Keep the sides of the hole vertical to ensure proper root growth.

  6. Check the depth and width: Once you’ve reached the desired depth, check to ensure that the hole’s width is sufficient. You can place the root ball inside the hole (without removing any burlap or container) to verify proper width.

Planting Depth And Spacing

Proper planting depth and spacing are essential for the healthy growth of Green Giant Arborvitae. Pay attention to the following guidelines:

  1. Examine the root ball: Before planting, carefully examine the tree’s root ball. If the tree is wrapped in a burlap sack, gently loosen or remove the burlap. If the tree is container-grown, inspect the roots and untangle any circling roots or root-bound areas.

  2. Determine the planting depth: The optimal planting depth for Green Giant Arborvitae is where the base of the tree trunk meets the original soil line. Avoid planting the tree too deep, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. If the root ball is significantly higher or lower than the desired planting depth, adjust the hole accordingly.

  3. Check the width of the planting hole: Place the root ball in the hole and ensure that the hole’s width allows for ample space around the tree. The roots should be able to spread out naturally without interference from the sides of the hole.

  4. Adjust the depth: If needed, make adjustments to the planting hole’s depth by removing or adding soil. The top of the root ball should be slightly above the surrounding soil to account for settling.

  5. Position the tree: Once the planting hole is properly prepared, position the tree in the center of the hole. Make sure the tree is straight and aligned as desired.

  6. Fill the hole: Begin backfilling the hole with the soil that was initially removed. Gently tamp down the soil with your hands or a shovel to eliminate any air pockets. Avoid compacting the soil too heavily, as this can hinder root growth.

  7. Water the tree: After filling the hole halfway with soil, water the tree thoroughly. This step helps settle the soil and ensures that the roots have adequate moisture for the initial phase of establishment.

  8. Complete backfilling: Continue backfilling the hole until the soil level matches the surrounding ground. Avoid piling soil against the trunk, as this can trap moisture and cause rot.

  9. Mulch the area: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around the base of the tree, making sure to leave a small gap around the trunk. Mulch helps conserve moisture, control weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Proper Watering Techniques

Watering is crucial during the establishment period of Green Giant Arborvitae. Follow these tips to ensure proper watering:

  1. First watering: Immediately after planting, thoroughly water the tree. This initial watering helps settle the soil and ensures that the roots make good contact with the surrounding soil.

  2. Watering frequency: During the establishment period, which can last up to two years, Green Giant Arborvitae requires regular watering. Provide approximately 1 inch of water per week, either through rainfall or manual irrigation. Monitor the soil moisture to prevent both overwatering and underwatering.

  3. Deep watering: When watering, focus on providing a deep soak rather than frequent light watering. Deep watering encourages the roots to grow deeply, making the tree more resilient and less susceptible to drought.

  4. Watering duration: Estimate the duration needed to provide 1 inch of water by using a rain gauge or a small container placed in the vicinity of the tree. Slowly water the tree until the desired amount is achieved.

  5. Proper drainage: Ensure that the planting hole and the surrounding area have adequate drainage. Green Giant Arborvitae does not tolerate waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. If necessary, consider amending the soil or creating a drainage system.

  6. Adjust watering in different seasons: During hot summer months, increase the frequency of watering to compensate for evaporation. In colder months, reduce watering to prevent waterlogging and root issues caused by excessively wet soil.

  7. Avoid overhead watering: When possible, avoid watering Green Giant Arborvitae from above using sprinklers or overhead systems. Overhead watering can lead to foliar diseases, especially in humid climates. Instead, focus on direct watering at the base of the tree.

RELATED  How To Plant Black Walnut Seeds [ Full Guide ]

Mulching For Moisture Retention

Applying mulch around Green Giant Arborvitae not only improves aesthetics but also provides numerous benefits. Follow these mulching guidelines:

  1. Mulch type: Choose organic mulch such as wood chips, shredded bark, or compost. These materials gradually decompose, enriching the soil with organic matter. Avoid using plastic or rubber mulch, as they do not allow water and air exchange to the roots.

  2. Mulch depth: Apply a layer of mulch that is 2-3 inches deep. Take care not to pile the mulch against the trunk, as this can lead to excessive moisture retention and encourage diseases.

  3. Mulch shape: Spread the mulch in a circular or doughnut shape around the base of the tree. Leave a small gap between the mulch and the trunk to prevent trapping moisture against the trunk.

  4. Mulch coverage: Extend the mulch coverage in a radius of at least 2-3 feet from the trunk. This extended coverage helps retain moisture, control weeds, and insulate the soil temperature.

  5. Mulch renewal: Periodically check the mulch layer and replenish it as needed. Mulch gradually decomposes and settles over time, so adding a fresh layer every 1-2 years helps maintain its effectiveness.

  6. Weed prevention: A thick layer of mulch helps suppress weed growth, which can compete with the tree for water and nutrients. Keep the mulch layer free from weeds or use a weed barrier before applying the mulch.

By following these step-by-step instructions for planting Green Giant Arborvitae, you can ensure the healthy growth and long-term vitality of these majestic evergreen trees. From properly digging the planting hole to setting the right planting depth, providing adequate water, and mulching for moisture retention, each step plays a crucial role in the successful establishment of Green Giant Arborvitae. Take the time to prepare the planting site correctly and provide the necessary care, and you will be rewarded with beautiful, thriving trees that enhance your landscape for years to come.

Fertilizing For Healthy Growth

Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja standishii x plicata ‘Green Giant’) is a popular evergreen tree that is well-loved for its lush, dense foliage and fast growth. It is a hybrid of Japanese arborvitae and Western red cedar, creating a tree that can reach heights of up to 50 feet and widths of 15 to 20 feet. Green Giant Arborvitae is commonly used as a privacy screen, windbreak, or specimen tree due to its thick foliage and tolerance to a variety of climates.

If you are considering planting Green Giant Arborvitae in your landscape, it is important to follow specific steps to ensure its successful establishment and healthy growth.

Proper fertilization is essential for the healthy growth of Green Giant Arborvitae. Before planting, it is recommended to prepare the soil with organic matter, such as compost, to improve its fertility and drainage. This will provide a nutritious environment for the tree’s roots to establish.

Once the tree is planted, it is important to provide it with regular fertilization to promote healthy growth. A slow-release balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 is ideal for Green Giant Arborvitae. Apply the fertilizer in early spring before the new growth begins. Avoid fertilizing in late summer or fall, as this can stimulate new growth that may not have sufficient time to harden off before winter.

Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package to determine the appropriate amount to apply based on the size and age of the tree. Spread the fertilizer evenly around the base of the tree, being careful not to let it come in direct contact with the trunk. Water the area thoroughly after applying the fertilizer to ensure it reaches the roots.

Pruning And Shaping Green Giant Arborvitae

Green Giant Arborvitae has a naturally pyramidal shape, but regular pruning and shaping can help maintain its structure and promote airflow through the foliage. Pruning is best done in early spring, before new growth begins.

Start by removing any dead or damaged branches with pruning shears or loppers. Cut back to a healthy intersection where another branch or bud is present. This will help reduce the risk of disease and pests.

To shape the tree, selectively prune the outer branches to create a more compact and symmetrical form. Use hand pruners to remove the tips of branches, making sure not to cut back into old wood. This will encourage branching and denser foliage.

It is important to avoid excessive pruning, as this can lead to bare spots and disrupt the natural shape of the tree. Aim to remove no more than one-third of the tree’s foliage during any given pruning session.

Common Pests And Diseases

While Green Giant Arborvitae is generally resistant to many pests and diseases, it is still susceptible to certain issues that can impact its health and appearance. Being familiar with these common problems and implementing preventive measures can help ensure the long-term success of your tree.

RELATED  How To Plant Planter Box [ Full Guide ]


Bagworms are caterpillars that can defoliate arborvitae trees if left unchecked. Look for small bags made from silk and foliage debris hanging from branches. These bags serve as the larvae’s protective cover. Manual removal of the bags is an effective control method for smaller infestations. For larger infestations, insecticides specifically labeled for bagworm control can be used following the instructions on the product.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are tiny pests that can cause discoloration and webbing on the foliage of Green Giant Arborvitae. Regularly inspect the tree for signs of infestation, such as small yellow or brown specks on the needles. Spraying the tree with a strong stream of water can help wash away the mites. If the infestation persists, insecticidal soap or horticultural oil can be used, following the instructions on the product label.


Canker is a fungal disease that can cause sunken, discolored patches on the bark of the tree. It can lead to branch dieback if left untreated. To prevent canker, ensure proper planting techniques, such as planting in well-draining soil and avoiding excessive watering. If canker affects your tree, prune affected branches back to healthy wood and dispose of the pruned material to prevent further spread.

Root Rot

Root rot is a fungal disease that can affect the roots of Green Giant Arborvitae, leading to stunted growth, yellowing foliage, and eventual death of the tree. To prevent root rot, ensure proper drainage in the planting area and avoid overwatering. If root rot is suspected, it is important to consult a professional arborist who can assess the extent of the damage and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Maintenance And Care Tips For Green Giant Arborvitae

In addition to fertilizing and pruning, there are several maintenance and care tips that can help ensure the health and longevity of your Green Giant Arborvitae.


Green Giant Arborvitae has moderate water needs and requires regular watering, especially during its establishment period. Water the tree deeply and thoroughly, allowing the water to penetrate the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches. Provide sufficient water during dry spells, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Mulching around the base of the tree with organic matter can help retain soil moisture and suppress weed growth.


Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree can benefit Green Giant Arborvitae in several ways. Mulch helps conserve soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, suppresses weed growth, and adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down. Apply a 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk to prevent rot.

Winter Protection

Green Giant Arborvitae is generally hardy and tolerant of cold temperatures. However, it can benefit from some winter protection, especially when it is young or newly planted. Wrapping the tree with burlap or a specialized tree wrap can help protect it from winter winds and sunscald.

Deer Protection

In areas with high deer populations, Green Giant Arborvitae can be a prime target for browsing. To protect your tree from deer damage, consider installing a physical barrier, such as a deer fence or tree guards. Alternatively, using deer repellents can help deter these pests from feeding on the tree.


Planting and caring for Green Giant Arborvitae can be an excellent investment in creating privacy, adding beauty, and enhancing the landscape. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, including proper fertilization, pruning, and pest prevention, you can ensure the health and vitality of your tree for years to come. Remember to regularly monitor the tree’s condition and seek professional help if you encounter any significant problems. With proper care and maintenance, your Green Giant Arborvitae will provide you with many years of enjoyment and beauty.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Green Giant Arborvitae?

The best time to plant green giant arborvitae is in the fall or early spring, when the weather is cooler and the tree can establish its roots before the heat of summer.

How Much Sunlight Does Green Giant Arborvitae Need?

Green giant arborvitae is a full sun to partial shade tree and requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day for optimal growth.

What Type Of Soil Is Best For Green Giant Arborvitae?

Green giant arborvitae prefers well-draining, loamy soil with a slightly acidic pH level. Avoid heavy clay or compacted soil, as it can hinder root growth.

How Much Water Does Green Giant Arborvitae Need?

Newly planted green giant arborvitae will need regular watering, about 1-2 inches per week, until the tree is established. After that, it is drought-tolerant and only needs watering during periods of prolonged dryness.

How Should I Space My Green Giant Arborvitae Trees When Planting?

When planting green giant arborvitae trees, space them at least 10 feet apart to allow for proper air circulation and room for growth. If planting a row, space the trees 5-6 feet apart for a dense hedge or screen.