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Thuja Green Giant Question

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From: Julee S
West Chicago, IL
Hi. I am afraid I majorly screwed up. We wanted to plant tall trees along our fence to get privacy from our neighbors who have a tall pool deck overlooking our yard. Our yard is raised a bit so we wanted them tall, at least 15 feet.

We ordered 7 Thuja Green Giant and had them planted. The website we bought them from said they grow up 5 to 8 feed wide and to plant them 5' feet apart for privacy. I was thinking they needed 2.5' per side so we instructed to have them planted 2.5' off the fence and 5' feet on center apart from each other. I was looking up care tips and now I'm seeing these trees will grow much wider than the site we purchased them from indicated. I'm not sure what to do.

The fence they back up to is our neighbors and is a 6' wooden shadow box fence. If the trees hit the fence will they stop growing or do we have to worry about them damaging the neighbors fence? The bed we had put in is 5' wide off the fence so maybe we should move them to the front of the bed.

I think these are not the trees I thought they were and I'm afraid these trees are too huge for the area we have now. We thought these were tall narrow trees. Any suggestions on what we should do? Are they ok where they are or should we move them to the front of the bed, just under 5' from the fence? Or do you think to be safe we should be even further off the fence, and if so how much?

Extension Message
From: Richard Hentschel
Extension Educator, Horticulture
DuPage/Kane/Kendall Unit
The evergreens will stop growing as they hit the fence because without light, those branches will brown and die. foliage above the fence will continue to grow. If you have the room to move them to the front of the bed and enough room for them to grow into the yard by enlarging the bed as they do, the longer they will be nice and full on the fence side. if there is space to get them farther apart than the current 5 feet center to center it will take longer for them to crowd each other out and cause browning similar to the what will happen with the fence. for a number of years you will be able to prune them while slowly allowing them to grow together. Eventually they will become to large to manage. the younger you start with the pruning the longer they will last. you can prune sides only and let them "reach for the sky". Your bed could utimately be 10-12 feet deep.

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