#ProPlantTips - Arborvitae Hedge vs Fence?

#ProPlantTips - Arborvitae Hedge vs Fence?

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Need some definition in your life? Privacy can range from castle walls to wispy, see-through screens. You can always go with the standard chain link fence, maybe upgrade to a white picket or expensive privacy fence and rock walls are crazy expensive and heavy to build on your own.

For an amazing privacy evergreen that has it all - and provides all the benefits of a fence - the incredible Arborvitae will command attention!

Also known as Thuja, these pyramid-shaped, often narrow, or even columnar evergreens have soft scale-like needles and are faster growing than other evergreen varieties on the market! Arborvitae means ‘Tree of Life’ and it will breathe new life into your landscape!

Decorative hedge


brown fence

So are living plants that much better than a fence? No painting, little maintenance, respite for wildlife, and a friendly way to eliminate a neighbor’s camper or their messy yard... a living hedge is something that you can both enjoy! (and maybe even split the cost?)

  • Less expensive -vs- hardscape fence
  • Easy to grow & plant
  • Improves your home’s resale value more than a fence
  • Less, if not the same maintenance
  • More environmentally friendly & renewable -vs- Fencing
  • Wildlife-friendly - nesting, winter protection & cover
  • Both are great barriers to halt trespassers
  • Both provide beautiful property definition
  • Seclusion & peace that a wood or stone barrier can’t provide
  • Better noise & wind reduction than fencing
  • Rustling sounds, fragrant, cooling evergreen greenery & motion for a full sensory experience


Many Uses of Arborvitae

Arborvitae works hard to expand the amount of livable space outside your home. Create the walls of garden rooms. Push your fencing beyond the perimeter, and carve out smaller areas within your property!

  • Excellent backdrops to perennial or shrub borders
  • Windbreak and block dust - keep trash out of your yard & slows the wind
  • Noise abatement - block out a busy road or noisy neighbor or block sounds of a children’s play area
  • Provide shade for you and your garden beds
  • Privacy & screening - seclusion from prying eyes
  • Hide eyesores - block ugly sheds, neighbors, utilitarian areas, garbage cans, or compost piles
  • Create outdoor rooms - zen gardens, meditation rooms, a yoga spot, coffee nooks, and peaceful seating areas
  • Blur the line of sight of a neighbor's window


Private Backyard in a Hurry

  1. Add a curved berm by mounding extra soil 2-3 feet high, or creating multiple tiers of high and low mounds. Plant your privacy trees in the berm, and you'll jump-start your privacy by several feet! This also works if you have compacted ground or poor drainage issues.
  2. Buy the largest container sizes we have in stock for a big head start. Larger container sizes mean older trees with a larger root system.

    Infographic about how to pick an arborvitae

Types of Arborvitae

The goal is to create a lush, solid screen without sacrificing healthy air circulation. Study the Plant Highlights on every product page to find the height and width your tree will reach at maturity.

  • North Pole® - Pointed & columnar, fast-growing, matures 10-15 feet tall & 4-5 feet wide. Doesn’t need pruning for a fluffy natural look.
  • Green Giant - Big fluffy, fast-growing to 40-50 foot tall & only 8-12 feet wide. Fast-growing once established. Shear/prune for a formal look.
  • Emerald Green - Bright green popular choice 10-15 feet tall & 3-4 feet wide. Can be spaced close for immediate screening that needs no trimming.
  • Degroot's Spire - Dark green pyramid maturing 18-20 feet tall & 4-5 feet wide. Fantastic living walls, can be planted in pots, slower grower, and always stays skinny.
  • American - Thick & elegant 25-40 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide. Robust and can be spaced a bit farther apart Overall a fairly fast-growing plant once established.
  • Techny - Dark green and compact, maturing 15-20 feet tall and 6-10 feet wide
  • Sugar and Spice - Creamy bright green & petite, maturing 7-10 feet tall & 1-4 feet wide


Considerations for the choice would include:

  • What will the mature height and spread be?
  • How thick or dense are they?
  • How long do they live?
  • How fast do they grow?
  • How much care will they need?
  • Are they drought tolerant?
  • Do they need full sun?

What Spacing is Best?

Plant your Arborvitae in the center at their mature spread apart (or a bit closer), measuring from the center of one to the center of the next. Going by the smallest number listed for the mature spread. These plants planted in a dense row will make a nice 2 sided green barrier that can be allowed to grow naturally without any pruning at all if you like.

You can also plant Arborvitae closer together than the estimated mature widths so the plants will quickly grow together making a solid screen. Finally, use an old farmer's trick. Stagger two rows in a zig-zagging planting pattern that fills in fast.


All of NatureHills.com Arborvitae available today can be found by clicking here! Filter the results you want by height, mature spread, and Growing Zone. Always use Nature Hills Root Booster with important landscape trees and shrubs. This symbiotic formula supports the tiny feeder roots over the whole life of your plant and never wears out.

Create a landscape that reflects your personal style! Water, minimal pruning, fertilizer, and mulch are all it takes to create a lasting fence for curb appeal and privacy! Get planting now and watch your fence grow better with each passing year!

Buy healthy, well-rooted, fast-growing privacy trees and shrubs from NatureHills.com! We make it so easy with expert shipping right to your doorstep.

Decorative white fence with purple flowers

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