Arborvitae is an incredibly versatile plant. Not only are they super hardy and resilient, but they are iconic, ornamental, and easy on the eyes.
Arborvitae has plenty of purposes when it comes to outdoor planting, including acting as a live fence and stopping the wind from making a mess of your other plants.
Planting arborvitae correctly is crucial to how it grows and flourishes. Many planters wonder how far apart to plant arborvitae, ensuring that they don’t entangle with each other.
Following the proper guidelines when planting arborvitae is well worth the effort, as they grow into beautiful, tall, lush green trees.
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How far apart to plant arborvitae?
When planting arborvitae, you’ve got to place them at least 10 feet away (3 meters) from the next plant. When extended to its full potential, mature arborvitae is about ten feet wide. Don’t plant them less than ten feet away from a permanent structure, and remember to prune them, so they are nice and neat.
Give Your Arborvitae Plenty of Space
Arborvitae doesn’t only need space from one another, but they should also be planted more than ten feet away from permanent structures like homes, garages, patios, and sheds.
They have aggressive roots that like to spread, and the trees themselves grow pretty high and wide.
Failing to give your arborvitae appropriate width could end in disaster.
You’ll likely have to dig them up and move them if they become too large, and at that point, it’s challenging to do so because the roots have taken hold.
Not to mention, you may do damage to whatever permanent structures the roots decide to invade.
Keeping Arborvitae Contained
Planting your arborvitae ten feet away from each other is an excellent start to keeping them contained, but there are a few more steps to take in the planting process to ensure they stay healthy and non-invasive.
Plant arborvitae at least twenty feet away from other trees, as they tend to suck up the soil nutrients that the surrounding trees need to thrive.
It’s not to say that arborvitae is an invasive plant, but they are certainly a bit on the aggressive side. They grow so large that it’s difficult to control what they do under the ground.
You cannot trim their roots like you can with smaller trees, plants, and potted plants.
Arborvitae requires a specific amount of soil nutrients to flourish, and they don’t share well with the surrounding foliage.
For this reason, planting them about ten feet away from each other will result in giving them the food they demand.
How to Plant an Arborvitae Correctly
The first thing you need to consider when planting arborvitae, precisely more than one, is location. They need space, so small outdoor areas just won’t do unless you’re planting only one or two.
If your goal is a whole fence line, you’ll have to consider at least sixty to eighty feet to keep them from growing into one another.
Your arborvitae will likely come in a container when you first purchase them. Typically, that container is compostable and can go straight into the ground.
If not, the container is probably plastic, which means you’ll have to remove your arborvitae before planting.
Once you’ve ensured that you’ve spaced the holes far enough apart, you’ll want to dig a hole as deep as your arborvitae container is tall.
Using these measurements, you can be confident that the roots are less likely to break up through the ground, causing lawn and tripping hazards.
Arborvitae likes to spread out, to say the least. Gardeners and landscapers must be more than ready for their arborvitae, no matter how small they are now, to grow into a mature, adult tree.
How to Fix Arborvitae That are too Close
If your arborvitae are too close together, you can transplant them. When transplanting, you’ll want to follow the same methods you did when you planted them, with one consideration.
Be very careful to begin digging with enough width around the plant to destroy the roots. Trees and shrubs spread, hence the amount of space needed to plant them in the first place.
The new hole you dig should be larger than the root ball, and take care to consider the current size of your arborvitae and how much room it will need to continue to grow.
Always space them accordingly. Taking the time to measure will be well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Far Apart To Plant Arborvitae
How do I plant arborvitae?
Once you’ve spaced enough room for the amount of arborvitae you’ve purchased, dig a hole for your arborvitae as tall as the container and twice as wide. Save the dirt; you’ll need to fill in and make sure the roots establish and take hold.
How should I space arborvitae?
Space them at least 10 feet from each other and permanent structures. Other trees would prefer if you planted your arborvitae twenty feet away from them, so there are enough soil nutrients to go around for all.
How do I use arborvitae as a fence line?
If you’d like to use arborvitae as a fence line, you can plant them on the north side of your property line to shield it from the wind in the winter. For shade in the summer, create your arborvitae fence line on the west side. In reality, put your arborvitae anywhere it makes sense in your yard.
Successfully Keeping Your Arborvitae Apart
Eventually, your arborvitae will grow together in width, creating a nice privacy block from your neighbors.
However, if you’ve planted them ten feet apart, you can be sure that they have plenty of space and are thriving under the ground. Ten feet apart is the cardinal rule for arborvitae!
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.