Arborvitae Trees: Spacing And How Many Should You Plant

Green Giant Arborvitae Planted in rows to create a privacy screen

How Far Apart Should You Plant Arborvitae Trees?

Arborvitae is the go-to evergreen for lining a fence and creating a privacy hedge. So we are going to get our hands dirty in planning out how far apart you should plant these trees to create the effect you’re looking for. It also depends on how quickly you may want a lush green security wall up. Gardening is a practice in patience, though, with a little wiggle room, there are different spacing methods to how much or how little time you have for your privacy wall to reach full dense maturity. It is also important to recognize the differences between Green Giant and Emerald Green.

  • Choose Emerald Green, where space may be limited, like planting along a driveway, fence line, or a smaller backyard where your desired hedge height is less than 15 feet tall. 
  • Choose Green Giant, where your space is limitless, and you have plenty of room to enjoy a larger evergreen hedge where your desired privacy height is more than 15 feet tall. 

Now we’ll bust out the calculator for you and guide you into exactly how far apart you should plant these arborvitae trees.

Green Giant Arborvitae Spacing and Determining How Many Trees You’ll Need

A general rule of thumb is to plant Green Giant arborvitae trees 6-8 feet apart for best performance. Since these spritely evergreens grow exceptionally fast, it’s helpful to understand even more how to space them to accommodate their growth and flourish in your landscape. 

First, begin by measuring the area in your landscape you are looking to cover. Let’s use the example that you have 100 feet of space you want to cover. Then divide that number by how far apart you will be planting them; 6-8 feet is the recommendation, so we will say plant them 8 feet apart. That comes to 12.5 trees; round that down to an even 12 for the exact amount of trees you’ll need for the space. 

The simple math equation:

  • Length of yard you’re covering ÷ spacing from trunk to trunk = The Total Number of Trees Needed. 
  • Example: 100 feet of landscape ÷ planting trees 8 feet apart = 12 Green Giant trees you will need for that space.
A diagram showing that to plant Green Giant Arborvitae Trees 8 feet apart

As you can see in the above diagram, there is a good amount of space between each Green Giant to have room to grow. The more space you give each tree, the larger it will get! However, the trade-off is time. Hedge planting like this for a privacy wall could take two to five years to grow into a dense green screen. If time is not a worry for you, this method is perfect and the most optimal as planting bigger, healthier trees is always better than growing them too close together.

Though if time is of the essence, and you need a natural fence up in a hurry - there are two ways of accomplishing an instant arborvitae hedge wall!

Green Giant - Instant Hedging

The first method of getting a privacy wall in a hurry is planting your Green Giant arborvitae trees closer together. You can plant them 5-6 feet apart, so you won’t have to wait long as they will soon become lush and give you that seclusion you want. However, there are a few key things to note as you don’t want to plant arborvitae trees too close together, preventing them from fully developing and causing many problems in a few years. So here are a few tips for Green Giant Instant Hedging:

  • Plant 5-6 feet apart, and not any closer together than that
  • Plan to shear the trees several times through the seasons, so they do not overgrow into each other. Click here to learn more about How To Prune Arborvitae Trees.

The Zig-zag Method:

Staggering Green Giant arborvitae trees is often used in landscape design to add texture, creativity, and a privacy wall will almost happen instantaneously the moment you plant your Green Giants. This will require more trees for the space, as you’ll be planting two rows of arborvitae, though the eye-catching effects this silhouette creates is picturesque! 

You will use the same simple math equation as above, Length of yard you’re covering ÷ spacing from trunk to trunk = The Total Number of Trees Needed. Though, you will then diagonally plant a second row of arborvitae between each open space. This method is not only healthiest for the trees, but it will instantly plant a privacy hedge, adding a dynamic effect to your landscape. It can also become a fun place for kids to play as they weave in and out of the trees and for memorable family photos.

A diagram showing that to plant Green Giant Arborvitae Trees 8 feet apart in a staggered method for instant privacy wall

How Far Apart Should Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees Be Planted, And How Many Do I Need?

Emerald Green Arborvitae trees are dwarf-sized arborvitae compared to Green Giant, though Emerald Green has a bit more of an elegant and formal texture to them. Their smaller stature means they can be planted closer together. Growing only 3-4 feet wide, it is recommended to plant Emerald Green Arborvitae 4 feet apart from each other. 

Now let's bring the calculator back out to help determine how many Emerald Greens you will need for the space you are looking to fill. The same equation applies from above, Length of yard you're covering ÷ spacing from trunk to trunk = The Total Number of Trees Needed. Let's say you have 40 feet of space to work with this time. Then divide that number by how far apart you will be planting them, which for Emerald Green is 4 feet apart. This comes to 10 trees you will need to plant to create a dense windbreaker or natural privacy hedge. 


Example:
40 feet of landscape ÷ planting trees 4 feet apart = 10 Emerald Green trees you will need for that space.

A diagram showing that to plant Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees 4 feet apart in a row for a privacy hedge

Emerald Green can hold their own in the race, growing 1-2 feet a year! It won’t take long for a handsome lush green wall to flourish! Though if time is ticking, and you need this wall up now - there is a solution! Yes - you guessed it, The Zig-zag Method.

Create depth and dimension by staggering your Emerald Green Arborvitae trees, planting two rows that are 4 feet apart, which is guaranteed to become an instant privacy hedge the moment you plant. The unyielding, columnar form of these arborvitaes will thrive into a stylish protective barrier.

A diagram showing that to plant Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees 4 feet apart in a staggered method for an instant privacy screen

At Bower & Branch, we make it easier to shop Arborvitae Trees, offering them in bundles from 6 to 100. We know landscaping can be pricey and done on a budget, so we like to help you build the beautiful hedge of your dreams. So the more arborvitaes you need in your bundle, the more you save!

Shop All Arborvitae Hedge Bundles

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