Aborvitae: Establishing a Hedge Row

If you want some outdoor privacy, a hedge row of privacy plants like arborvitae can enclose your yard without making it seem like a prison. Arborvitae is a popular choice for this type of hedge because it’s a hardy evergreen that requires little maintenance. It can grow well in excess of 30 feet tall, although most homeowners do not allow a privacy plant to reach that height.

It is easy to create a hedge row with arborvitae. Read on to learn the steps for a simple project.

Step 1: Follow the Rules

Check with your city or your neighborhood association to make sure that this type of hedge is allowed. Ask if there are any restrictions on the size or type of privacy plant that you can use.

If you live outside of the city, and don’t have to worry about city codes, you should consider that deer love the taste of arborvitae. If you use larger plants, this may not be an issue, but smaller plants might be ripped right out of the ground and eaten by deer!

Step 2: Pick Your Plant 

There are several varieties of arborvitae available, each which offers different colors, growth rates and suitability for your climate. If you don’t know which of types will grow best in your climate, consult experts at the nursery where you are purchasing your plants. A hedge row made with one variety of arborvitae will be the easiest to plant, but alternating two or more varieties of arborvitae with different colors can create a “tapestry hedge row,” which could be more attractive.

You should also decide whether you will trim your hedge frequently for a manicured look or let it grow out for a bushier, more natural look. The more you trim your hedge, the more maintenance it will require. On the other hand, a more natural hedge row might take up more space.

Step 3: Prepare to Plant 

Maximize the use of your yard by planting the hedge as close to your property line as possible. Remove any other plants along the hedge row and dig holes of the right size to accommodate the root balls of your plants.

Space the plants at least 18 inches apart to avoid the roots interfering with each other. Arborvitae grows well in all types of soils, but you may add fertilizer to the holes to give them a good start.

Step 4: Plant Your Arborvitae

Once the plants are in the holes, make sure they are straight. Then pack dirt around the root balls and soak them well with water. Keep the plants moist for the first few weeks to make sure the roots don’t dry out. 

The arborvitae plants grow quickest when they are young, so your hedge row should fill in within a year or two. Once the hedge row has filled in, you can enjoy your yard in privacy.