Perfect Spacing: How Far to Plant Arborvitae Apart

Perfect Spacing How Far to Plant Arborvitae Apart
Perfect Spacing How Far to Plant Arborvitae Apart

Arborvitae should be planted 3 to 4 feet apart for a hedge. Arborvitae is a popular evergreen that provides an ideal natural barrier or hedge for your property.

They have soft, needle-like foliage with a pyramidal to conical shape. They are kind of many soil types that require little maintenance after planting. Knowing how to space your arborvitae is essential for a healthy and lush hedge. A well-formed hedge can add significant value to your landscaping and stunt attraction.

Planting them too close can lead to overcrowding, disease, and stunted growth. On the other hand, planting them too far apart can spoil the hedge’s privacy-creating aspect. This article will discuss the proper spacing for planting arborvitae and the crucial factors to consider when planting them.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Spacing

Arborvitae is a popular evergreen tree that can add beauty and privacy to your yard or garden. When planting arborvitae, it’s important to consider the factors that influence the spacing between each tree. These include:

Arborvitae Variety

Different arborvitae varieties have distinct growth rates, shapes, and sizes. Therefore, before planting, consider the variety of arborvitae you want to plant and determine the right spacing. Common varieties include:

  • Emerald green: Reaches up to 14 feet tall and four feet wide.
  • Thuja green giant: Reaches up to 50 feet tall and 20 feet wide.
  • White cedar: Grows up to 40 feet tall and 10 feet wide.


Climate plays an important role in determining the spacing between arborvitae. For instance, if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, it’s important to plant the trees closer together to protect them from the wind, snow, and other elements.

Factors to consider when assessing climate include:

  • Temperature range
  • Wind exposure
  • Rainfall patterns

Soil Type

The type of soil in your garden or yard determines the spacing between your arborvitae. Phytosanitary measures should be taken to prevent rooting issues that might slow growth. Compact soil is likely to inhibit growth. Additionally, consult your local agriculture extension agent to determine the soil type.

Intended Use Of The Plants

The planned use of the arborvitae affects the spacing. If the trees are meant for privacy screening, the spacing should be closer, while if for decoration, a wider spacing is ideal. Other features to consider are:

  • Views and decorative purposes
  • The height of the mature plants

By considering these factors, you can determine the appropriate spacing when planting arborvitae, ensuring maximum growth and healthy plants.

Measuring The Spacing

Planting arborvitae can enhance the overall look and feel of your garden, but the question remains: how far apart should they be planted? The spacing between arborvitae plants is crucial as it allows them to grow correctly and not compete for resources, ensuring they flourish to their full potential.

In this section, we’ll look at the practical tips and approaches for measuring the spacing between arborvitae plants.

Provide Readers With Practical Tips And Approaches For Measuring The Spacing Between Arborvitae Plants

The process of measuring the spacing between arborvitae plants is essential to enable them to grow and thrive. Ensuring that each screening plant has ample space to spread out will guarantee they have enough air, sunlight, and nutrients to develop appropriately.

Below are practical tips for measuring the spacing between arborvitae plants.

  • Use a measuring tape to measure the distance between the center of each arborvitae plant. Measuring from the center is important since this is where the plants will grow, and expand and not from the base.
  • For larger gardens, use a surveyor’s wheel to measure the distance between each plant accurately. The device counts the revolutions of the wheel, giving you a precise distance reading.
  • To ensure the spacing between the plants is consistent, mark the spot where the next arborvitae plant should be before you start planting the first plant. This marking provides a guide and can prevent any random planting.
  • Use soil stakes or any other measuring tool that will not move to help you mark the spot where the next plant should be. Measure the distance, ensuring it’s consistent with the distance from the center of each plant.

How To Use Tools Like A Tape Measure Or Surveyor’S Wheel To Ensure Accurate And Consistent Spacing

Using the correct tools to measure the spacing between arborvitae plants helps guarantee a consistent and accurate distance. Here’s how you can use a tape measure or surveyor’s wheel for accurate and consistent spacing.

Measuring using a tape measure:

  • Use the tape measure to measure the distance from the center of one plant to the other.
  • Ensure the tape measure is taut and straight, to get accurate measurements.
  • Record the measurement and move to the next arborvitae plant.

Measuring using a surveyor’s wheel:

  • Use the surveyor’s wheel on a flat surface and start at the first arborvitae plant.
  • Push the wheel along the ground, keeping it in a straight line until it reaches the second plant, then record the distance.
  • Keep the surveyor’s wheel in a straight line to maintain accurate measurements.

Measuring the spacing between arborvitae plants is essential for their growth and overall appearance. Using the right tools like measuring tape or a surveyor’s wheel, you can ensure a consistent and precise measurement that will help your arborvitae plants to thrive.

Planting Arborvitae: Step-By-Step Guide

Arborvitae trees have become increasingly popular due to their ability to adapt to various soil types and the ease of planting. They can be used as a privacy fence, a windbreak, or to add an attractive focal point to your garden.

However, planting them too closely can be dangerous to their growth, while planting them too far apart may leave gaps in your terrain. How far and how deep should you plant arborvitae? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the perfect planting form.

Proper Spacing For Arborvitae

One of the essential components of planting arborvitae is to ensure that they have adequate space to grow properly. If planted too close, they will compete for nutrients and light. On the other hand, planting them too far apart will create gaps in your landscape.

Here are the guidelines for proper spacing:

  • For regular-sized arborvitae, space each tree 3 to 4 feet apart in the center.
  • If you have dwarf arborvitae, space each plant 2 to 3 feet apart in the center.
  • For larger trees, keep around 6 to 8 feet apart in the center.

How Deep To Plant Arborvitae

Planting the right depth is also essential when it comes to arborvitae root development. Planting them too deep or too shallow may interfere with their ability to grow healthy roots. Here are the appropriate guidelines to follow:

  • Begin by digging a hole that is two to three times the size of the tree’s root ball.
  • Ensure that the hole’s depth is proper; measure the length of the root ball, and dig a hole that is as deep as the length of the root ball.
  • Loosen the soil around the hole to allow the roots to take hold in the soil.


After planting your arborvitae in the hole, you need to backfill the hole by filling it up with soil. You must avoid any air pocket formation around the young tree. Here’s how to backfill:

  • Start by adding soil around the roots, and packing it in gently to eliminate any air pockets.
  • Water the tree once the hole is half full to help settle the soil.
  • After the first watering, continue to backfill the hole, and water frequently.

Proper Root And Stem Support

Proper support for the roots and stem is vital for trees to show themselves and grow correctly. Here’s how to ensure that your arborvitae gets the support it needs:

  • Create a mound of soil around the base of the young tree.
  • Place stakes around the tree and secure straps to the trunk to offer support to the stem.
  • Make sure the stakes are steady and hold the tree vertically without damaging the roots.

Watering And Fertilizing

Watering and fertilizing your newly planted arborvitae is essential to ensure that it grows up healthy and strong. Here are the best practices to follow:

  • Once you’ve planted your arborvitae, give it water right away to help the roots settle in the soil.
  • Water regularly, ensuring that the soil around the tree remains moist.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer to provide vital nutrients to the tree. Apply fertilizer in the spring or fall.

Planting arborvitae isn’t too challenging, but proper spacing, right depth planting, backfilling, adequate support, and regular watering and fertilizing are crucial components for their growth. Follow these simple steps to ensure that your arborvitae grows into a healthy tree.

Maintaining Arborvitae Plants

Maintaining arborvitae plants is an essential part of keeping them healthy and attractive. Arborvitae plants are low-maintenance, but they do require some care, including pruning, pest control, and ongoing fertilization and watering. Plant spacing plays a vital role in maintaining arborvitae, so it’s important to get it right.


Pruning is crucial to keep the arborvitae’s shape and to remove branches that are dead, diseased, or crossing. Here are some key points to keep in mind while pruning:

  • Prune arborvitae plants once a year, preferably in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.
  • Use sharp pruners to make clean cuts and avoid crushing the branches.
  • Remove branches that are growing at the base of the plant, as they can interfere with air circulation and sunlight.
  • Avoid over-pruning, as that can lead to bare patches on the plant.

Pest Control

Arborvitae plants are vulnerable to many pests and diseases, but proactive pest control measures can prevent most of them. Here are some points that can help you control pests:

  • Inspect the plants regularly for signs of pests.
  • Apply insecticide and fungicide sprays as per the instructions on the label.
  • Provide adequate spacing between plants to allow for air circulation and lower humidity levels, which can prevent fungal diseases.
  • Do not allow the mulch to touch the base of plants, as it can create a favorable environment for pests and diseases.

Ongoing Fertilization And Watering

Proper watering and fertilization are essential for maintaining healthy arborvitae plants. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Water the arborvitae plants regularly, especially during the first year after planting.
  • Avoid overwatering, as that can cause root rot.
  • Provide adequate spacing between plants to allow for proper nutrient absorption and growth.
  • Use fertilizer as per the instructions on the label, preferably in early spring and late fall.

Spacing plays an important role in maintaining arborvitae plants. Proper spacing between the plants not only makes pruning, pest control, and fertilization tasks easier but also allows the plants to grow to their full potential. Improper spacing can compromise plant health and lead to a host of problems, including poor growth and vulnerability to pest and disease attacks.

Therefore, it’s vital to ensure that you plant arborvitae at the recommended spacing distance.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How Far To Plant Arborvitae Apart

How Far Apart Should Arborvitae Be Planted?

Arborvitae should be planted 3 to 4 feet apart if you are planting more than one. If you are only planting one, it should be planted between 3 and 5 feet away from any other plants or structures.

How Deep Should Arborvitae Be Planted?

Arborvitae should be planted at a depth of about two-thirds the height of the root ball. Make sure to loosen the soil at the bottom of the hole so the roots can spread out, and backfill with soil mixed with compost or other organic matter.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Arborvitae?

The best time to plant arborvitae is in the fall, from late August through November, or in spring, from April to early June. Avoid planting during the hot summer months or during the winter when the soil is frozen.

How Much Sun Does Arborvitae Need?

Arborvitae prefers full sun to partial shade. They can tolerate some shade but will not grow as densely or as tall as they would in full sun. Make sure to plant them in an area that receives at least six hours of sun per day.

How Often Should Arborvitae Be Watered?

Arborvitae should be watered deeply once a week, or when the soil around the roots feels dry to the touch. During periods of drought, they may need more frequent watering. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other problems.

How Can I Ensure My Arborvitae Thrive?

To ensure your arborvitae thrive, plant them in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Water them deeply and regularly, especially during the first two years while they are establishing their root system. Mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and stop weeds.


It’s pretty crucial to give your arborvitae enough space to grow and thrive properly. The correct spacing not only ensures healthier plants but also promotes better air circulation. It will help your hedge grow thicker and stronger, which could also improve its overall appearance.

When planting arborvitae, keep in mind the recommendation of the species and the desired outcome of your hedge. If privacy is your goal, then plant tighter. If you want a more natural, random look, then you can space the trees further apart.

Always read the planting instructions that come with the specific species of arborvitae you’re purchasing and give them the proper spacing they need. In the end, with the right plant spacing, the right location, and proper care, your arborvitae will flourish and add value to your landscape.


  • David Mark

    David Mark is an experienced gardening guide with over 20 years of experience. He is passionate about helping people learn about gardening and creating beautiful, healthy gardens. David's love of gardening began at a young age, when he would help his parents in their backyard garden. He quickly learned the basics of gardening, and as he grew older, he began to experiment with different plants and techniques. After graduating from college, David worked as a landscaper for several years. This gave him the opportunity to work on a variety of different gardens, from small backyards to large commercial properties. He also learned how to install irrigation systems, build raised beds, and create patios and walkways. In 2005, David decided to start his own gardening website. He quickly became known for his expertise and friendly personality. He has helped hundreds of people create beautiful gardens, and he is always happy to share his knowledge with others. David is a certified Master Gardener, and he is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He is also a regular contributor to gardening magazines and websites.

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