Fast Growing Evergreen Spacing for Privacy Hedge
A common question from property owners considering fast growing evergreens for their property boundary to create privacy is the spacing of the trees. Smaller trees of 2-3’ are inexpensive, but larger trees of 10+’ height can be rather expensive when 100s of feet are to be covered.
When spacing arborvitae (Thuja) for a privacy hedge, the recommended distance between individual plants will depend on several factors, including the specific variety of arborvitae, the desired height of the hedge, and the growing conditions. Here are some general guidelines for spacing arborvitae for a privacy hedge:
Small Varieties: For smaller arborvitae varieties that will grow to a height of around 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters), spacing them about 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 0.9 meters) apart in a row is common. This spacing allows enough room for the plants to grow and create a dense hedge over time. Often the names of these varieties include “Petite” as they are specifically bred to be dwarfs.
Medium Varieties: Medium-sized arborvitae varieties that will reach heights of 8 to 12 feet (2.4 to 3.7 meters) should be spaced approximately 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 meters) apart. This spacing accommodates their larger size while ensuring a cohesive hedge. Emerald Green and American Pillar are the most well known of the medium size Arbs.
Emerald Green Arborvitae spaced 4’ apart, separating the sidewalk and a home, Lexington, KY
Large Varieties: Larger arborvitae varieties that can grow over 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall may require spacing of 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 meters) apart. This wider spacing allows enough room for the larger plants to reach their full size and form a substantial privacy screen. Green Giant are the most popular variety of this group.
Green Giant Arborvitae spaced 5’ apart separating a busy 6 lane road and a subdivision, Lexington, KY
Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and the exact spacing will depend on the specific growth characteristics of the arborvitae variety you choose and your preferences for the density of the hedge. A closer spacing will result in a quicker and denser privacy hedge, but it may require more frequent pruning and maintenance to keep the plants in check.
Before planting, consider the mature size of the arborvitae variety you have selected and plan accordingly to ensure they have enough space to grow without overcrowding. Also, consider the height you desire for the privacy hedge, as closer spacing will lead to a taller and denser hedge over time. Proper soil preparation and regular watering will also contribute to the success of your privacy hedge.