Arborvitae trees are a favorite privacy plant. When planted at precise spacing, the trees intersect to create a dense privacy hedge. They are an ideal foundation wall for mass-planted hedge rows to draw birds, butterflies and tiny animals. Select arborvitae that have a single leader - one main branch coming upward off the base trunk - to make the most effective privacy hedge.
Prepare the Planting Location
For a privacy hedge, plan the location as close to the edge of your property as possible. The location should be open, well away from other trees. Clear it of twigs, rocks and other small trees and shrubs. Obtain enough small arborvitae trees, about 1 to 2 feet tall, to fill the hedge space. Arborvitae spread to a full width of 4 feet at maturity, about seven years. Then they grow taller as they age, at about one foot per year.
Arborvitae Tree Spacing
Plant the arborvitae at least 3 feet apart, but spaced no farther than 4 feet away from other tree types. They need sun for at least 8 hours a day. Water frequently to 1 inch of soil depth, three times weekly for the first 2 years to help them get established.