Spacing and planting of Emerald Green Arborvitae

tomjiJune 23, 2010

I have inherited a 7 shrubs "Emerald Green Arborvitae" that the builder has planted (bought from Home depot). I want this to provide some privacy. A picture says more then a 1000 words so here is the current state.

Notice the trees are 55inches apart, 58 inches tall and 23inches wide at the base. The "fact sheet" from home depot states that the mature size of the tree is 8-10 feet tall and 24 inches wide.

Since they are already 23inches wide at the base but only 58inches tall and can grow to 120inches, I wonder if they can fill up the empty space? The other option is to replant them to be closer to 30inches apart, but I prefer they can grow taller and wider naturally then have a lot of small trees.

Notice that the trees that are planted by the builder are showing quiet a bit of the root ball, which concerns me a lot. The trees that I (re) planted are quiet a lot deeper in the soil. Here is a picture of the exposed root ball:

Also, there is no mulch on any of them.

So the questions:

Do I need to replant them to be closer in spacing?

Do I need to add mulch?

Do I need to replant the trees that are showing the rootball.

This is in NJ, the soil is rocky with clay.

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The picture links aren't working.
Here are the trees.

Here is a link that might be useful: Emerald Arborvitae Line

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 9:12PM
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And here is the exposed root ball

Here is a link that might be useful: Root ball

    Bookmark   June 23, 2010 at 9:16PM
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I've read they can get 12 - 14 feet tall. That should take time; I've already read once established you might be looking at 6" - 1' growth per year, if memory serves.

Is that clay soil? I know on the forum some people plant slightly above grade with clay soil in areas prone to prolonged wetness, for some trees.

I've read discussions about rows of these guys (because I planted 14 last Fall). Some people plant them 3' apart so they fill in a bit faster; some 4 feet so each has plenty of personal space, thinking they SHOULD eventually fill in mostly (albeit it could take a long time). I've not heard of anyone planting them 4'7" apart, though.

Here's a trick people talk about on the forum for hastening hedges; plant another row of them in front of that row, staggered (blocking the open spaces), for a more rapid fill-in effect.

OR, consider making that front row a different species or cultivar, for variety. For example, I wonder how yellow ribbon arborvitae or Holmstrup's yellow (not plain Holmstrup) would do? Perhaps blue point juniper? I'm not familiar with planting in New Jersey, and aesthetics are personal.

I like Boulevard False Cypress (the regular form, not those poodle-cut 'topiary' versions that look like pom-poms).


    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:10AM
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Hi Richard,

Thank you. I think I will end up replanting them with 3.2' - 3.5'
I hope replanting twice in 2 weeks is not too much stress for them. I will get a string to plant them in a straight line.

I thought 4'7" could work because someone down a block has also an Arborvitae with such spacing, but I am unsure if it's the very same type.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:04PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Most plants grow best in the "ideal" yard. Its not uncommon to see these growing in some rocky areas though.

Good luck with your plantings! I always vote for including multiple species:

1. I never have the time to maintain a proper English Garden.
2. Some bug or problem might come by that specializes in Ash, Chestnut, Elm, or whatever.
3. One of them just might die. Ppl die young occasionally, so do plants. Hate to throw the sense of balance off.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:48PM
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