How to thicken Thuja occidentalis/white cedars?

April 18, 2019

Hello all - last May I planted several Thuja occidentalis/white cedars that I got from a local farm. Unfortunately, not knowing any better the ones I got were sparse and scraggly (I don't know why but I thought that was normal and that they will fill out). The seller said that they were great for privacy hedge.

Anyway, almost a year later they almost look the same as when I first planted them except they're taller. They have not filled out at all. As you can already gather, I'm a novice and rather clueless - please, I'm not looking for all the things I did wrong- for some reason people really like to focus on that but I can't go back in time. I'm looking for help on what I can do now. How I can thicken these shrubs but I keep hearing and reading conflicting information.

Should I be cutting them back to encourage new growth? If yes, when? How much? Should I fertilize? If yes, what kind of fertilizer, how often, when? Thi: CIL shrub and hedge feeder was suggested to me.

This is how they looked before I planted

This is how they look a year later:

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