Goldy Arborvitae 'Thuja plicata '4 ever''

jamiedolan(4/5)July 20, 2010


I buy things that are on clearance even when I don't really have room for them...

I bought a Goldy Arborvitae "Thuja plicata '4 ever'". The tag says it gets 50-70' tall and 15-25' wide. I don't have the space in the sun to devote to this, because my yard has a lot of shade. So I have 2 options;

1. Plant it in a sunny location, but keep it pruned to a smaller size (3'x8').


2. Plant it in a location with dappled light.

Will this bush tolerate either of these options very well or do I need to re-home it?



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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

its a conifer .... not a shrub .... but i dont care where you post ....

keeping a 50 to 70 foot plant at 3 feet will be a challenge ...

decrease its annual growth rate by planting in shade.. though you may not get a good yellow out of it..

what you have.. is a yellow version of a forest tree.. that you are trying to force into suburbia ... good luck with that.. lol ..

enjoy it.. until you no longer want to mess with it.. but be sure to get rid of it.. while you can still do it yourself... dont wait until you have to pay someone to remove this potential monster ... ergo.. hack away at it.. until you ruin it.. and then get rid of it.. lol ...

any interest in bonsai?????


Here is a link that might be useful: potential ... lol

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:28AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Winter hardiness in USDA 4 doubtful.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 11:21AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

oops.. missed that. . i dont have any in my z5 ....

well.. that will solve long term growth issues.. lol ...


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:24PM
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My zip 54956 pulls up as Zone 4 and that is what I have gone by as a general rule. However, when I look at the USDA map, it looks to me like I should be in Zone 5. I looked at Menasha, a city, 1 mile from here, 54952 and it came up as zone 5.
Abrbor day also shows me as a zone 5.

So I maybe right on the border, I have some zone 5 stuff that does fine, like a washington cherry. I am also in the city in a area that is pretty heavily planted, so we may have a micro-climate going in this area that gives plants some additional protection.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:28PM
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Are all arborvitae really conifer that should be treated like a tree? i.e. not be shaped / sheared?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:31PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i told you they wont grow in my 5.. so no matter what 5 you might be.. its still going to be problematic .. unless you can squeak a micro 6 in some corner of the yard .... i would try to avoid winter sun.. and all winter wind ...

and.. since you asked... the are not shrubs .... in any sense of the word.. common mistake...

they are conifers.. because they have cones.. though very weird ones ..

all conifers are also trees ...

trees/shrubs and conifers are all planted the same ... never fertilized.. and mostly free range after 2 years.. once established ...

the biggest difference .. in a non scientific sense.. is that pruning or trimming rules vary greatly between all 3 ...

you would never REJUVENATE PRUNE a tree or conifer. the way you would prune a shrub ... google the term to see.. and think lilac.. spirea.. weigelia ... privet .... etc ... flowering shrubs ....

and you can not prune a confer as freely as a tree ... if you were to trim all the buds off a pine e.g. .... it is dead [99% of the time] ... whereas a tree.. would be able to trigger dormant buds[like that stump in the yard that just wont die].. and still live .... [though of course... you wouldnt top a tree like that anyway ...]

so you would never shear a pine .... like say a privet... unless you did it a the perfect time to allow new buds to develop .... or the conifer would die ...

now... this is what i call the grade school level explanation ... and is not meant in any manner to be a scientific thesis on the the differences.. since most peeps.. dont need that .. its all i ever learned.. and look where i am today ... rotflmbo .....

man its gotta be hot outside for me to type all that.. rather than be outside.. lol ...

all that said.. arbs would be much more forgiving to shearing.. on some level.. as compared to pines, etc .... but you would be better off hand pruning to reduce growth ... selective reduction lets call it ...


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:06PM
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Thanks for the detailed answer.

It has been hot here as well, at least for Wisconsin. In the 80's, which isn't bad, except for the very high humidity.

We have been inundated with rain this year, which is great for the plants, Hosta and trees, but thanks to all the water, swarms of mosquitoes bite constantly, starting mid afternoon.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 2:28PM
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"the are not shrubs .... in any sense of the word..
.. common mistake... they are conifers.. because they have cones.. though very weird ones ..

all conifers are also trees ..."

Just to clarify.......conifers or not, they can be tree form, shrubby or even groundcovers. These words describe growth habits only, not botanical distinctions between how they reproduce (which is what distinguishes a conifer from a non-conebearing plant). It would be an enormous stretch of the imagination - not to mention rather inaccurate - to consider something like Juniperus horizontalis 'Blue Rug', a very common conifer, a tree :-)

Regardless of the semantics involved, the plant in question is not a 'bush' or a shrub but a large growing tree. Hardiness issues aside, it is extremely difficult to maintain a tree that wants to exceed 50' in height to less than a tenth of that size, not to mention potentially creating a number of health issues by doing so. One of the common names of Thuja plicata is "giant" arborvitae, if that provides any additional clarification :-)

FWIW, some large growing, tree-like conifers can be hedged or sheared routinely to be kept smaller - Leyland cypress, yews and even hemlocks are often trained in this manner - but not all conifers are amenable to this treatment.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Cultivar asked about not expected to grow to full size of typical species. At time of sale looks rather like a golden biota from some distance. I would, however, expect it to form a tree in time, bigger than anticipated at planting time - as is often the case with garden conifers.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 9:24PM
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