Podocarpus spacing

ptr727July 2, 2014

Hi, I want to plant some podacarpus gracillior for patio privacy, and looking for advice on spacing.

Setup as follows:
8' high nice looking stucco'd concrete poured walls on both sides of back patio.
3' high 2.5' deep concrete poured planters against walls.
Neighbors can see into my back patio from their 2nd story windows.
Looking to plant podacarpus as a pruned hedge on both sides in the raised planters, to grow tall above the wall, to block neighbors from looking right down into my back patio.

I've had various nurseries tell me to space trees everything from 2' to 6' apart.
Same with similar questions asked on this forum, varied answers, hope you don't mind me asking again.

It is ok if the bottoms of the trees do not completely cover the wall and the ground, as the planters are raised, it may be nice to grow some color below the trees.

What do you recommend for spacing of the trees?

Here is a crude layout of the back patio, back section is raised and covered in artificial turf, smooth concrete seating in front of wall planter and on edges of back lawn and center planters:

For the remainder of the walls, other than raised planters, I plan on planting dodonaea viscosa purpurea / purple hopseed bush, the 10' high wall in the back has a fig creeper growing over from the other side, not going to mess with that, and considering some dwarf lemon, lime, and orange citrus trees for two center planters.

Any other advice welcomed, short term really need to know tree spacing so I know how many to order.


This post was edited by ptr727 on Wed, Jul 2, 14 at 21:12

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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

Depends on how fast you want your hedge to grow in. I would plant 2' on center but podocarpus is a big tree that could easily span 6' o.c..

Also, be aware that many municipalities place the same limit on hedge height as they do wall height. So it's possible a tall hedge would be illegal. It is in Los Angeles but they only enforce the ordinance if someone complains.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:59PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I went and looked at my neighbor's hedge down the road. They are on 3' centers. It makes a beautiful hedge, if you are good about regular trimming.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Thanks for the info.

What do you think about the spacing for the purple hopseed bush I want to use for the back wall sections, privacy is not an issue there, just needs to look good?

As for the citrus trees, the normal sized trees seemed too big, thats why I am considering the dwarf versions, what do you think, one or two per center planters?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 9:12PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Depending on which citrus you choose, a dwarf can get 10-20' tall and nearly as wide, even on true dwarf stock. One per planter.

I grew Purple hopseed for 10 years, not a fan. It's a short-lived small tree, looks good and grows fast for about the first three, then declines rapidly. Whole branches simply die off. Also reseeds like crazy, though the seedlings are very easy to pull. 10' centers. It's great if you want something for about 5 years that you know you are going to be pulling out, but it is not a good plant for the long haul.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 5:43PM
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I know P.gracilor looks like a good hedge for a few years...but they want to get big later..and you end up trimming off all the weepy parts of the plants. Whats a better Podocarp for hedges and privacy screens in smaller areas is P.macrophylla. I've seen them kept forever in 3 x3 x 6-8 tall spaces per plant for as long a hedge as you want.
P.gracilor might not be a huge tree...but its determined to be plenty big.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:14PM
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