Spacing podocarpus gracilior as a screen?
We are looking to grow a natural screen to block views of our home from a large building next-door. After a huge amount of research, we settled on podocarpus gracilior as the best solution for us.
The challenge, however: how far apart should we space these trees to create a solid screen? As we shopped local nurseries to decide which to buy from, we got recommendations that ranged from 3 to 12 feet---a HUGE difference!
We're in the San Francisco Bay Area with heavy clay soil, and have been told these trees are likely to reach 20-30 feet tall with a 10-20 foot spread here, based on local nurseries' experiences. We plan to train them as trees versus as shrubs.
So...if we don't want gaps in the canopies (gaps below that are fine as there's a fence), how close should we be planting these guys? Three feet seems way too close for the root systems, since they will be big trees---but this is our first experience with podocarpus, so maybe not? We are fine with the spreads overlapping (in fact that's great) provided it isn't detrimental to the health of the trees. However, we don't want to over-do it (or buy many more trees than we actually need!)
Any ideas? Thanks!