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Plant a Sugar Maple or the Green Giant Arborvitae

The Sugar Maple is an outstanding shade tree that has reliable fall color. The Sugar Maples are found througout the eastern states and are prized shade trees. Sugar Maples are also known as Rock Maples because the wood is so hard. Where the trees are found in open areas they can easily grow to 80 feet tall by 40 feet wide.

This tree likes rich deep soils with moisture and good drainage. Clay soils prevent good root penetration and thus affect the trees performance. Sugar Maples roots should be protected from heavy equipment which can compact the soil causing the plant decline. For these reasons in urban areas this tree is not the best choice even though it is widly planted there. This tree is often planted where there is new construction and the trees commonly are hard to establish without some noticeable plant decline on transplanting.

On the other hand you could consider the Green Giant Arborvitae. Like our farm, Highland Hill Farm, Yardley Pa. is located in an area with lots of clay. We therefore like plants that grow well in clay.

Arborvitae, in particular the Green Giant is our favorite. Here is why. The hardiness zone for the Green Giant Arborvitae is from zones 5 to 8. Its evergreen with rapid growth rates that in ideal conditions can be up to 3 feet per year. Site requirements for the green giant is sun to partial shade, moist well drained soil but does well in clay, and needs protection from wind .It is easier to establish than a Sugar Maple in the urban envirement.

Its texture is fine with its form conical being narrow to broadly pyramidal, reaching from 50 to 80' in height to 15 to 20 feet in width. The leaf is rich green graceful foliage. It keeps its foliage color in the winter. The Green Giants flowers/fruit are .5" erect female cones.

The Green Giant has strong wood, casts dense shade, and has cinnamon red bark when young. Arborvitae do not tolerate salt spray. These arborvitae should outlive even your children. .

By: Bill Hirst



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