Hedges: Thuja occidentalis (Smaragd) Cedar

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by digger, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. digger

    digger Member

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    I have just recently picked up 100 Smaragd Cedars and would be interested to here from anyone who has planted them as a hedge. I've been told to plant them anywhere from 20"-30" appart. The leaders are intact ,and I will not be topping them in the future.What distance would cause the least amount of dead foilage as this cedar becomes wider closer to the ground. I was told to expect a width of 28" and a height of 12' in 10 years.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The smaragd tends to taper from top to bottom, you can expect 12-15 feet tall and width at the base of near 3 feet. I have seen real old smaragds that were in the range of 25 feet tall and 4 or so feet wide at the base. My suggestion for planting is 24 to 26 inches apart. the further apart, the less chance of crowding issues in the future.
     
  3. magnussens nursery

    magnussens nursery Member

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    Hey Digger,

    My wife and I have grown smaragd (emerald green) at our nursery for the last 30+ years. I've got client as far away as Calgary, 100 mile and Vancouver Island who come for my trees. I recommend that you plant no closer than 24" on centre. I've got a beautiful hedge in the backyard placed on 36" centres. Placing them at a greater distance apart enables you to do more with them later on (sculpting them when you prune)ie 45 degree angles on the corners to give them a more formal appearance. You were mentioning that you where not going to prune the tops of them. I suggest that you do, when you prune you prune the tops, sides and bottom. The idea is that when you prune (lets say you prune a branch, two more are going to grow there, farther down the branch to make it nice and thick.) You should prune the bottoms if you want to keep the foliage down to the ground otherwise you might end up with ground, stick then the foliage. (firewood hedge is what we call them). When I sell a hedge I suggest to my customers to dig a trench verses holes it gives the roots more room to grow unrestricted (if you have clay make sure the trench is graded as to not hold water). The trench should be atleast 3-4" wider than the rootball is and 12" minimum in depth. Some people may disagree with this next statment but line the trench with mushroom manure sprinkle a 0-45-0 like a dusting of snow in the trench place your trees in and pack them in good with the soil that you removed. Snake a weeping hose through them for the summer months just turn it on, the trees will take up what they want. Fertilize with a 21-5-10 fertilizer with minors before the middle of April(this is what I use and recommend). All you need is water, sun, fertilizer and prune every one and a half to two years. You will have a gorgous hedge before you know it. Magnusssen's Nursery, 17724 24th Ave. South Surrey
    Gary
     
  4. magnussens nursery

    magnussens nursery Member

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    Oh one other thing by trimming the tops you force the tree to have multiple leaders making the hedge fill in faster at the top.
    Gary
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Some people will not agree because it is disproven by organized tests going back decades. Organic amendments do not assist plant establishment when added to small areas (like trenches). And absolutely never apply a "snowfall" of a whopping 45%(!) phosphorus fertilizer without a soil test from a soils lab proclaiming a need for such a high dose. On local soils P and K may not need to be applied at all, let alone in such dosages. Excess phosphorus is toxic to plants, a source of water pollution and not easily corrected (soil must be excavated and replaced).

    Pruning recommendations given only appropriate if clipped hedge desired. A soldier-like row of 'Smaragd' is already so rigid I'm not sure shearing is much of an enhancement, except where a rectilinear green wall forming a contrasting backdrop to informal planting is the goal.
     
  6. magnussens nursery

    magnussens nursery Member

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    HI Rob B.
    Don't get me wrong but I must disagree with your statements. I want to say, I didn't say a snowfall, I stated like a dusting of snow also if you do not prune your hedge, your hedge will become leggy in appearance and in snowfalls you will have damage to your trees. Ron, I have also used 0-45-0 both for planted inground plants and container plants and have achieved superior root growth with a near zero fatality rate. I have used it from Thuja to Azaleas with great success.
    Gary
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  8. JanetW

    JanetW Active Member

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    I read the article and what I got from it was overfertilizing with Phosphorus can cause clorosis and other micronutrient difficiencies. Even though the percent is high, if you use it in moderation, smaller amounts would then be diliuted in a larger area as opposed to using it in a pot, alot of the phosphorus in this situation will be leached out with watering and rainfall. I would tend to go with what works, and 30 years of growing successfully would qualify for what works. Janet
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    "Soil Test for Best Results. The widespread practice of applying 10-20-10 or 10-10-5 or similar "complete" analysis fertilizer, without the aid of a soil test to see what is needed, is asking for problems. Excess phosphorus can suppress plant growth by making various micronutrients unavailable. In areas of Iowa and the Upper Midwest where soils were originally very deficient of phosphorus and have the capacity to bind large quantities, 18-46-0 or diammonium phosphate has been widely used. However, as a result of repeated applications without taking a soil test many landscapes have become low-grade phosphate mines. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to remove excess phosphorus from the soil and plant health suffers from many years.

    In Oklahoma, 10-20-10 is widely recommended and used as a general fertilizer, yet few soils within the state need additional potassium. In controlled studies with field nursery stock, adding potassium (potash) above the level of about 300 pounds per acre suppressed growth.

    If a soil test shows 60 to 100 pounds of phosphorus (P205) and 150 to 300 pounds of available potassium (K20), the only general fertilizer element needed is nitrogen. The rate of nitrogen depends on the plant growth rate desired, type of fertilizer used, type of soil, whether the area is irrigated, rainfall, time of year and other factors. In general, nitrogen rares will vary from 50 to 200 pounds per acre per year made in one application or spread over the growing season."

    ---Carl E. Whitcomb, Establishment and Maintenance of Landscape Plants*

    *Replaced in 2006 by Establishment and Maintenance of Landscape Plants II
     
  10. LilyISay

    LilyISay Active Member

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    Okay, personally I'd follow the nursery guy's advice on distance-36" from bole to bole gives you air circulation with room to grow. In regards to the fertilizer, any slow release fertilizer that says "tree and shrub" on it will do just fine. You don't need to superload phosphorus to get roots started-that may kill the beneficial fungus living in the soil and that's a bad thing for overall soil health. Plant them with a good handful or two of bonemeal each, with a nice fertile and fast draining soil (Promix, Sunshine #4, black topsoil/sand mix.) That's what they really need. You want to get fast root growth, use a transplanting liquid when you plant, don't ladle on phosphorus. Like the previous comment said, it's hard to fix if you screw it up. You can't screw up bone meal. It will feed the trees for years and years. Fertilize with high nitrogen fertilizers before May for uber fast growth. Good luck!
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Hi, I noticed in your reply that both you and your wife have grown these Smaragds for 30 years at your nursery. I have purchased some 32 of these trees, which at that time, were extremely healthy and lush. Now, after planting them in the ground about a month ago, I have started to notice that the leaves are begining to turn brown here and there. Can you advise me what is happening? I have been watering them and they have been getting a lot of moisture from the past few weeks of rain that we have been getting. Do you think that the trees are getting too much water, or do you believe that you can never give them too much water? I thought that this was a hardy species of tree, much like a cedar, but I am not convinced of this because of the spiratic patches of brown which are appearing. Any bit of advice or help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2008

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