Establishing a Hedge Row

What is an Arborvitae?

An Arborvitae is a type of evergreen tree or shrub from the Cyprus family. The arborvitae has scale like leafs that are soft to the touch, instead of prickly like traditional evergreen and pines. They prefer colder climates and grow best in the northern east United States and Canada.

Arborvitae's prefer moist soil with an alkaline pH level. They are also adaptable to poor soils that are rocky, sterile, dry or wet. Arborvitae's can also survive in soil that has an acidic pH level. Relatively speaking these trees/shrubs are very low maintenance and can survive almost anywhere where the temperature remains somewhat cool.

Arborvitae trees come in many different shapes. Some, like the American arborvitae, are wide, cone shaped. Others, like the Pyramidalis, are thinner. The globe arborvitae is rounded. Arborvitae trees can also be pruned into the shape of hedges, and make wonderful year round privacy screens.

Pick your type of Arborvitae.

There are several variations of Arborvitae that you can choose from to start your new hedges. Each variation offers different colors, growth rate, and climate needs. Choose the Arborvitae that is suitable for your climate. If you don't know which Arborvitae will grow best in your climate, consult your local nursery for more detailed information. While creating a hedge row with one single type of Arborvitae can be easily grown and provide the desired results, combining different variations of Arborvitae's into one hedgerow can result in a beautiful multicolors tapestry barrier.

You also need to base your selection on trimming factors. Do you want your hedge row to have a manicured, shaped structure or are you going for a bushier, natural look? Keep in mind that the more you trim your hedge, the more maintenance that it will require. However, a natural bushy hedge row can take up a lot of unwanted space and become to overgrown very quickly. Once it is overgrown, it becomes very difficult to reshape the hedge.

Prepare to Plant.

Plant your hedge as close to your property line as you can. Dig a straight line, removing any other plants that you come across. Make sure your holes are deep and round enough for the ball of roots so it has proper growing room. Leave extra space for the roots if you can, try not to "compact" the soil around the root system.

Space your new Arborvitae's at least 18 inches apart to avoid having the roots combine with each other. Even though Arborvitae's can grow fine in almost all soil, you may want to think about adding some fertilizer to help the growing process. It may result in a healthier, quicker growing hedge.

Plant your Arborvitae

Once your have the plants in your pre-dug holes, make sure they are straight. Tie them to poles if you have to. Fill the hole in with the soil you removed and water them generously. Keep the plants moist for the first few weeks of the planting to ensure that the root system does not dry out.

These plants will grow the quickest when they are young, and with the right amount of water and care, you should have your new, natural, privacy hedge row within a year or two.