row of green privacy trees

Whether our desire is for privacy, to block an unsightly view or to create a wind barrier, sometimes we need a privacy screen and fast! The natural inclination is to plant trees close together. While this practice may achieve an instant screen, planting trees too close together is generally not sustainable for the trees’ long-term health. Unfortunately, due to root competition and poor air circulation, trees can begin to die out over time. And it is possible that healthy trees are damaged during the removal of the dead trees. Fortunately, we can use the easy design trick of staggering the placement of the trees to get the most benefit from a newly planted privacy screen without overplanting. 

In the design below you’ll see a traditional design of planting the trees in a straight row, using the recommended spacing of 10’. To cover a 90’ area we will need 9 trees, spacing the trees 10’ apart from trunk to trunk, beginning 5’ from each end of the space. If space (in depth) is limited, this is the only design strategy that will work.diagram of a single row of treesIf depth is not limited, you can stagger the placement of the trees to fill the gaps between the back row of trees. Below we have an example of a Green Giant arborvitae planting. We have increased the planting distance to 15’ apart as a cost-saving measure. This strategy will help to cover more empty space while only adding 2 additional trees.diagram of a staggered row of privacy treesFor the most immediate impact, plant a double row of trees as shown in the example below. You’ll notice that we are still keeping to the recommended planting distance of 10’ but we are almost completely covering the area by filling in the gaps between the back row of trees. This strategy does require almost double the number of trees. diagram of a double row of privacy treesIn conclusion, we have explored a “good,” “better,” and “best” option for creating a healthy screen in the fastest manner possible.