Thuja is one of the best plants for hedges. But for a hedge you need a large number of very expensive plants. By propagating thuja with seeds, you can get any number of seedlings in 3-4 years.
Tui breeding technology
The simplest and most convenient breeding technology for thuja is sowing seeds before winter in the ground. Seedlings come out strong, develop well. You can get any number of seedlings in a fairly short time.
Thuja is winter-hardy and unpretentious. This is one of the best plants for hedges: thanks to its evergreen needles, it protects the garden from the cold wind both in summer and in winter. But for a hedge you need a large number of very expensive plants. Where can you get so many seedlings if you don’t want to incur extra costs?
By propagating thuja with seeds, you can get any number of seedlings in 3-4 years. And do not be afraid that in the first year of life the seedlings reach only 7 centimeters. After 2 years of cultivation, they will grow up to 50 cm, and subsequently they will give an increase of about 30 cm per season.
How to prepare thuja seeds from cones
Tui seeds ripen in late August – early September. Seeds must be collected before the buds open.
Spread the collected thuja cones in a thin layer to dry in a warm, dry place. As soon as the cones dry and open, the seeds spill out freely. It is better not to pull with sowing: if you store thuja seeds at room temperature, after three months their germination rate sharply decreases. If you still decide to sow in the spring, they will need stratification (exposure to low temperatures) for successful germination.
The easiest way is to sow thuja with freshly harvested seeds in the fall, leaving the crops to winter outside. Natural stratification increases vigor of germination, seedlings germinate earlier than after spring sowing, require less care, grow faster and more successfully endure the first winter.
Sowing thuja seeds
You can sow thuja directly into the ground on a specially designated garden bed, but it is better to sow the seeds in a box. So it is more convenient to work, and it is easier to take care of the seedlings: if necessary, the box can be rearranged to any place.
Fill the box with a mixture of turf or garden soil, peat and sand (1:2:0.5 parts). Level well over the entire surface and compact the soil so that the side of the box rises 2-3 cm above it. After that, grooves should be marked at a distance of 5-6 centimeters.
To make it easier to deepen the seeds, widen the grooves. Distribute the thuja seeds evenly along the entire length of the groove.
From above, cover the crops with a soil mixture with a layer of about 1 cm. Compact the surface with a plank. If the weather is dry, then water a little, but make sure that the seeds do not float. Those seeds that still float should be sprinkled with a small amount of soil. In wet weather, watering is not required.
How to care for thuja crops
Install a box with sowing on the street, preferably under the crown of trees: then the seedlings will not be in direct sunlight in the spring – for coniferous plants, including arborvitae, this is dangerous. If there are animals on your site, then the crops must be covered with a film or non-woven covering material. After the snow melts, make sure that the shelter does not touch the surface of the soil.
2-3 weeks after the soil warms up to +10 … + 15 ° С, the thuja gives the first shoots. Tui seedlings do not look like adult plants: their needles are needle-shaped, and not scaly, like in adult plants.
It may seem that instead of thuja, another plant has grown from seeds – for example, spruce or juniper. But do not be alarmed: after 2-3 months, the seedlings will have the first branches with real scaly needles.
Every two weeks, feed the plants with a solution of a complete mineral fertilizer (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). During the season, seedlings grow up to 7-8 cm and remain to winter in a box.
If the crops are not very thickened, and the box is deep enough (or you sowed directly into the ground), then the crops in the same place can be left for another year. But more developed thuja seedlings are obtained if they are planted in a school (growing bed) after the first wintering.
A place for school is best to choose in light partial shade. Apply to the soil per 1 sq. m: humus (1 bucket), nitroammofoska (40 g) and wood ash (250-300 g), dig well on a shovel bayonet.
Thuja tolerates transplant well at any age. She is planted in a school for growing according to the scheme 30×30 cm.
After planting, water and mulch with peat. Feed once every 2-3 weeks in the same way as in the previous season, water in dry weather, loosen the soil after watering and remove weeds at the same time as loosening. In the third year of cultivation, when the thuja grown from seeds reaches a height of 50 centimeters, it can be planted in a permanent place.
For hedges, uniform planting material is needed, but when growing thuja from seeds, splitting of forms occurs: seedlings from sowing are obtained with different outlines and crown densities. This problem has a solution. At the age of 2-3 years, the future shape of the crown is already clearly visible in thuja seedlings. You can easily select the required amount of homogeneous planting material for a hedge or other purposes. In addition, the thuja tolerates a haircut very well, and the desired shape of the hedge can be obtained, even if the seedlings differ slightly.