Arborvitae Spacing to Fence

Nightshade3DMay 5, 2013


I'm a new homeowner and am looking for some advice on what was my first major yard project (or possibly yard mistake). I was/am trying to create a screen between my yard and road that runs along the side of it, so I planted 15 emerald green arborvitae as a hedge. They are spaced 4 four apart and 30 inches in from my 4 foot high picket fence.

Now that I'm done, I'm starting to worry that the arbs are too close to the fence. So now I'm looking for second opinions. Are they too close? If so, how far back should they be planted? If I need to move them, should I do it now, or wait 'till fall? They have been planted over the last two weekends, so some have been in the ground for two weeks and others just got planted today.

Thanks for the help

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I would move them in the fall. Emerald green grow really slow, so for now they should be alright.
They say 4 feet in circumference.
So, if you plant the tree in the hole, imagine a four feet circle all around it in every direction.
Do you know what I mean?
So when you transplant them, which you have to do if it is only 30 inches to the fence, when you dig one out, move it 4 feet from the fence, and 4 feet in every direction.
From the base of the trunk of the arborvitae.
That is your starting point.
Oh, and mulch real good, they aren't established yet.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 12:10AM
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Someday you will need to paint/stain/wash/replace that fence.
Leave room to work.

And it's not as if they will magically stop growing when they reach a certain size.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:42AM
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I think a previous poster meant a 4' diameter (spread), not circumference :-) At any rate, a 4' spread means the plant only grows approximately 24" in any given direction so you should be OK for the time being. Personally, I would not have the slightest concern about these planted at that distance and leaving them in place is far better than the trauma of moving them. And these plants can be sheared as well to keep them to a more narrow or hedge-like profile.

FWIW, plants DO slow growth dramatically once they reach their genetic potential, provided they are not overstimulated with water and fertilization. One of the better features of the tree in question is its extremely uniform growth habit and growth rate - 12-15' tall and 3-4' wide. Yes, it can get bigger but typically not routinely and if it does, it will do so very slowly.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:40PM
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