Can you please look at my fence planting?

conniemcgheeJuly 9, 2008

OK, a little background: Just moved into a new house this past December. The yard is basically a blank canvas, which is awesome but a little daunting. :) The first thing I wanted to do was this fence planting. From left to right, I have two Leylands, two Green Giants and a Cryptomeria. The goal is (as it always is): Fast privacy.


I googled and googled on spacing for these trees, and read everything from five feet to fifteen feet. I split the difference and planted everything at seven feet apart. But I know these trees probably have very different growth habits, and this distance might work for some but not others.

So, in real-life Tennessee garden experience, what do you guys think about planting distances for these trees? That Leyland on the far left is way too close to the fence at about three feet. I know.

I'm thinking I might need to tweak this in the fall. Suggestions? One thing I wish I'd done differently is alternate the Leylands and Green Giants, instead of having them in sets of two. I don't know why I did that.

Also, have any of you had problems with Leylands? My sister-in-law has Leylands in Knoxville; she said they've lost one or two but she loves the rest.

Thanks, and sorry this got so long!

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Trying to make the picture show up in this window:

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 10:43PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Seven feet apart is reasonable spacing for relatively quick privacy. They will close up at the base in probably 3 to 5 years. I planted my 1 gallon Green Giants about 7 feet apart around 3 years ago and they have done very well. They are about 10 feet tall and have grown together at the base.

Below is a link to a picture of a mature Leyland. This will give you an idea of what you will eventually get. As you can see, they take up quite a bit of room in a few years.

The Green Giants are probably a better choice than the Leylands because of the pest and disease problems with Leylands and Green Giant's superior ability to maintain thick lower foliage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pineresin's Leyland Pictures

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 8:45AM
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I planted 5 Leyland's about 4 years ago, and they are all over 10 feet tall now and shading out the good stuff.

If it comes between my grape vines, figs, elderberries and blueberries, the pretty stuff is going to loose, every time.

I do reccomend elderberries as a nice privacy screen that has an added benefit of priving juice, jam and wine ;-)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:25AM
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I've been hanging around the conifer forum, and I've seen those pictures (several times!) My question is, how old is that Leyland? I will be dead in 50 years. *wink!*

So, if seven feet is OK for Green Giants, do you think it's also OK for Leylands, or should I space those out a bit more? One person in the conifer forum seemed to think anything closer than ten feet was a mistake with Leylands.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 10:26AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

You are right about the tree in Resin's photo being fairly old. It would be many many years before your tree got that large. The point of showing you this photo was to highlight the fact that you are working with trees that will be very large when mature. Even in 10 to 15 years, your trees are going to be huge compared to your fence behind. Just take this into consideration for what it's worth.

7' spacing between trees will be fine. This spacing will give you a solid screen much faster. If you placed them 10' apart, it would probably take at least 7 or 8 years for them to grow together at the bottom and much longer than that to grow together at the height of the top of your fence. There is no long-term disadvantage in planting them at 7' intervals compared to 10' intervals.

The disadvantage you have in planting them in a closely spaced row (whether 7' or 15' apart) is that, if one dies, you will have an ugly brown-sided hole that will be difficult to fill. If your row is planted east-to-west, as opposed to north-to-south, you might even have a problem getting a replacement tree to grow at all.

By planting the trees in a zigzag, rather than a straight line, you can plant the trees a little further apart and still get faster screening. This pattern might also be a little less of a visual problem if you loose one of the trees later on.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Yes, thanks you guys! That is all so helpful. I do think I should move that one Leyland further from the fence in the fall, and maybe I should even alternate GGs and Leylands in case, as you said, I eventually lose one.

I have them zig-zagged, but it may not be showing up well in the photo.

They are planted on the northwest (sort of) side of the property, so I am thinking (hoping) that the way the sun moves, they won't be casting a ton of shade on the backyard. The sun seems like it moves directly over our house. The house faces pretty much directly south.

I am pretty sure we are not in this house for the long haul, so on the one hand I'm not too worried about the height in ten years. On the other hand, I don't want to make mistakes in planting that will make a future owner say, "Geesh, why'd they do that!?" :P

Really we just want some privacy fairly quickly. We are on a corner lot, and when we moved in our entire backyard was open for the whole cul-de-sac to see. We also have a bank of windows across the back of the house, so basically it was like living in a fish bowl. We built the fence, but the windows are above the level of the fence, so I need something to give us some privacy, stat! I want to be able to open the blinds along the back of the house and not feel like we are on display for the whole neighborhood! Ew!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:23PM
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Oh OK, so I guess my row is planted north-south, sort of. More that than east-west. So maybe that will help in case I do lose something.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:26PM
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