Forgive us, but it has to be said: Remember to remove the container before planting a containerized tree.

BEFORE DIGGING, call your local utilities to identify the location of any underground utilities.

For best results, we suggest you have a soil test done to determine ph & nutrient needs. These conifers all like a ph around 6.0. The hollies, 5.5 – 6.0.

The liners & quart plants do not require a very big hole, but if your ground is hard, loosen it up as much as possible so the roots will have easy access to grow. For the 1 gallon trees, dig a hole 12″ wide x 6″ deep. For the 3 gallon trees, 18″ wide x 12″ deep.

These trees are shipping from zone 8 in South Carolina. If you live in a colder zone, it might be a good idea to let them acclimate to your area before planting. Usually, keeping them for a few days in a cool but protected garage or porch is adequate. Stand the trees up and water them as needed until you are ready to plant them.

Don’t let plants dry out before you plant them. Water the containers daily until planted. Soil moisture, too, is an important factor affecting survival. If no soil moisture, do not plant. On the other hand, do not plant where water stands. These trees like moisture, but they need it well-drained.

Place the root ball in the hole. Do not plant too deep. Top of the root ball should be just about even with top of ground. But do cover the top of the root ball with dirt to prevent it from drying out. Pack firmly.
Keep area around your newly planted tree clear of grass and weeds as they compete for water and nutrients.

Newly planted trees need water, but over-watering is a common problem in irrigated plantations. Unless you experience a string of excessively hot and dry days, you probably won’t need to water more frequently than every 7 days. Give your trees a thorough, deep soak and then let the soil dry out before the next watering. This encourages the roots to grow down in search of water. Frequent, shallow watering (often done by hand) encourages root growth near the surface and the trees are more dependent on irrigation and are less windfirm. During hot, dry stretches in late spring or summer, though, it’s important the plants don’t stress, so water at least twice weekly during hot, dry weeks, especially if newly planted. Cypress and Cedars usually establish and become fairly drought-tolerant after one year of irrigation. Thujas often take 2 or 3 years of irrigation.

Mulching will help hold moisture and keep weeds down.

Fertilization is usually not needed for newly planted trees. Depending on soil and growing conditions, fertilizer may be beneficial at a later time.
It all depends on how fast you want them to touch. Most of our trees will eventually grow to about 50′ tall and 10 – 15′ wide. (Hollies reach 20′ tall, 8′ wide.) For a quick screen, plant Leylands and Carolina Sapphire 6’ – 7’ apart. Green Giants 5’ apart. Holly as close as 4’ apart. We’ve seen recommendations of even closer, but our thinking is: these are trees, give them as much space as you can.

If you have room, another approach is to plant two parallel rows, 8 – 10′ apart with the trees 6′ – 10′ apart in each row. But you stagger the plantings so that they look 3′ – 5′ apart...if that makes sense!
Most of our customers in zones 5 & 6 seem to prefer to plant in the spring after the ground thaws. However, we suggested to a customer from Chicago that he ask the local professionals what they thought and he was told (from a tree farm in his area) that they are great to plant up to 6 weeks before the ground freezes. That’s probably not a good recommendation for all plants, but it might be fine with the Green Giants which appear to be pretty tough and cold hardy.

One thing to keep in mind is that these will be coming from SC which is a drastic change from a northern climate. It would probably be wise to let them adjust a bit to your part of the country by keeping them in a protected place like a garage or shed for a week or so before planting. Keeping them watered, of course.
It’s a matter of soil conditions, nutrition, weather, irrigation, etc. If you’re in good soil and have good nutrition and decent rainfall, they’ll be established by the end of the growing season and you’ll see some growth the first year, mostly in the second half of the summer. If you’re in sandy soils, and go through many dry times, it could take 2 or 3 years before they really start to move.

Typically, the smaller trees tend to spend the first year getting established with only a little new growth. The second year should see improved growth, and then the third year they should start to reach their 3′ per year rate. It can happen sooner if conditions are favorable. The quart & 1 gallon sizes should establish more quickly.

Some keys are: don’t plant where water tends to stand (they like moisture but want it well-drained); keep grass and weeds away during the first year; and water thoroughly once a week in sandy soils. Also, they like a soil ph around 6.0. That can be determined with a soil test. Adjusting to the proper ph affects the dynamics of the soil/plant relationship and increases the ability of the tree to take up nutrients.
The chart below is only a suggestion. The Purchaser is responsible for determining the best planting time for the zone in which their trees are to be planted. We recommend calling your local Extension Agent for planting advice for your area.

Zone 5: Spring only, April & early May
Zone 6: September or April
Zone 7: Fall, winter, early Spring
Zone 8: October – early March
Zone 9-10: Winter
Thuja Green Giant, Leyland Cypress, Murray Cypress, Cryptomeria, Nellie R Stevens Holly, Carolina Sapphire, & the new Blue Ice Cypress are hardy, fast growing evergreen trees, ideal for making an attractive privacy hedge.The fast growing Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae tree is extremely popular because of its adaptability to many areas around the country and its resistance to disease.

Thuja Green Giant Arborvitae is the most popular fast growing privacy screen tree in America now but, if you live in the hotter parts of the country, consider Carolina Sapphire & the Blue Ice Cypress. Both are fast growing evergreen trees that love the heat. (Carolina Sapphire is the fastest growing & broad, Blue Ice is narrower and a deeper blue.)
Carolina Sapphire is the fastest growing conifer tree we've seen for making a privacy screen!
Shady areas present a challenge for folks needing an evergreen privacy screen.  Along with water and nutrients, sun is what makes plants grow.  Shade means less sun and therefore, less vigor.  Even if you find something that will tolerate some shade, it will most likely grow slower and less dense.

That said, the varieties we offer may provide the BEST chances for success. They all will certainly do well in light shade.