Whether you know it as Thuja, Arborvitae, or Green Giant, this conical evergreen is a great species for landscaping as it is highly pest resistant.
Most often used along fence lines or driveways, this species also makes a great choice for hedgerows.
How far apart should I plant Thuja ‘Green Giant’? For optimal growth rates and long-term health, Thuja Green Giants require planting at least 5 feet apart from one another. For a dense single row, plant the trees 5-6 feet apart. For staggered rows, plant 6-8 feet apart. The farther apart they are, the faster and larger they’ll grow.
Because these trees grow quite large in a short span of time, it’s important to carefully plan before planting with their future size and shape in mind.
In the following, you’ll find both recommended spacing for different goals and factors to consider before planting so that you won’t be disappointed with the end results.
Thuja Green Giant Spacing
Depending on how you plan on using your Thujas for landscaping your property, the best spacing guidelines differ.
Below, we discuss the difference between spacing measurements for single rows, hedges, staggered rows, and specimen trees.
Spacing for Single Row
If you’re aiming for a single row of Thuja trees and aren’t necessarily in a hurry to form them into a solid hedgerow, the best spatial distance between trees is 5-6 feet.
If you want hedgerows to develop as quickly as possible, plant your Green Giants approximately 3 feet apart, but be aware that this will result in thinner, weaker trees.
Spacing for Staggered Rows
For those who’re considering forming staggered rows of Thujas, the best spatial distance between each tree is 6-8 feet.
Planting trees in this fashion (diagonally staggering them) creates an almost immediate privacy barrier along your fence line or driveway.
Spacing for Specimen Trees
There is no “correct” spatial distance between specimen trees, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That said, keep in mind that these trees may become as much as 12 to 20 feet wide.
The holes need spacing according to how large you intend to let your trees grow, especially in width, but in height too.
When planning how to go about landscaping your property with Green Giants, there are a few real considerations to think about first.
What Is the Best Place To Plant?
The best place to plant your Thujas depends on your purpose for them. Trees for potential hedges are best placed along property lines, walkways, and driveways.
As far as specimen Green Giants go, the best placement is just about anywhere you’d enjoy having a great big evergreen.
Just keep in mind that these trees will do best in full sun or areas that receive only some shade.
For Looks or Utility?
Before you decide where the best place to plant your Thuja trees is, you have to decide whether you want to use them for looks or utilize them for a hedgerow.
Once you make that decision, your options become clearer.
Do You Want Tall Trees or Short Ones?
Whether you want 50 feet tall trees or shrubs that reach 3 feet high, you’ll need your mind made up before you plant them.
The closer they are planted, the shorter they’ll grow. Likewise, when planted father apart, they grow taller.
Do You Want Hedgerows?
Hedges are one of the most popular uses for Thujas, outside of growing large Christmas-like trees. If you want hedgerows, you need to plan accordingly, and then plant them close together.
What Is Your Timeframe?
Hedges planted from Thujas may take anywhere between a year or two on up to five full years to form into thick, green growth that provides privacy.
The closer you space your plants, the quicker and thicker, they’ll grow into hedges.
The Farther Apart, the Taller They Grow
When planted up to 20 feet apart, Green Giants have the chance to live up to their name (quite literally).
On the other hand, when planted at closer distances, such as 10 or 15 feet, the trees reach perhaps only half of their true potential height.
Dense Privacy Screen or Spaced Farther Apart
There are two main ways to use Thuja Green Giant trees for landscaping: dense privacy screens (hedges) or spaced farther apart (so they develop fully).
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, which we discuss below.
Dense Planting Pattern (3 to 6 Feet)
Planting Thujas in a dense pattern, either straight or staggered, makes an excellent and practically instant privacy fence.
Planted at such close distances, the trees form into thick hedgerows far quicker than other evergreen species. That said, they may require a bit more time pruning each year to keep them in order.
Greater Spatial Distance (8 to 20 Feet)
The major benefit to planting Thujas with greater spatial distances in between them is that they get to reach their full height and width.
At the edge of your property (or wherever you feel it suits your yard), these evergreens are quite majestic, with a dark forest-green color and large and pleasing pyramidal shape.
Thuja Green Giant Growth Rate
Generally speaking, the Green Giant has a growth rate of approximately 3 to 5 feet per year for up to 30 years (or slightly more).
At full maturity, Thuja Green Giant trees may measure well over 50 feet tall.
Planting Tips for Thuja Green Giant
- Set your trees up for success with high-grade growing medium.
- Plant them somewhere they get plenty of sunlight.
- Fertilize the trees, and provide them with regular food.
- Following a regular watering schedule.
- Prune and shape the hedges immediately.
Can You Plant Green Giants 3 Feet Apart?
Planting Green Giants 3 feet apart results in quick-forming hedgerows; however, planting these trees so close together prevents them from fully developing.
In nature, Green Giants reach 15 to 20 feet in width (far more than 3 feet).
Can You Keep Green Giant Arborvitae Small?
Keeping a Green Giant small isn’t impossible, though it takes practice and patience. Naturally, these plants reach heights of 50 feet or more and up to 20 feet in width.
So, it is against their nature to be small in any shape, form, or fashion. However, with regular heavy pruning, it is possible to keep one small.
A Final Word About Green Giant Spacing
The bottom line is that Thuja Green Giants make both excellent hedges and beautiful stand-alone evergreens. Only you can decide how they best compliment your property.
Just remember, for quick hedges, space them 3 to 6 feet apart, or to allow optimal growth, height and width-wise, plant them up to 20 feet apart.