Planting Cedars

(Question)

I would like to plant cedars (for privacy) between my fence and the patio beside our pool. How much room (i.e. depth) do you need from the pool patio to the fence to be able to plant a row of cedars?

(Answer)

There are many different types of cedar that are used for creating hedges. The type and size of cedar you choose will determine your spacing. For example, Eastern White Cedar, or Thuja occidentals, is a popular choice in Toronto because it is a native (so attracts local bird species looking for food and cover), it is the least expensive to purchase and usually comes with a small root ball, which makes them lightweight, so easy to carry and plant. The can be pruned to a width of two feet and can be planted so that the root ball sits close to the fence. This means you can plant in a bed as little as two feet wide, if your space is limited. They look great if they are hedge trimmed annually on both sides (otherwise the side against the fence will hang over into your neighbours) and along the top at your preferred height.  http://www.uoguelph.ca/arboretum/thingstosee/trees/northernwhitecedar.shtml

Depending on the length of your proposed hedge, you might prefer the more densely formed Emerald Arborvitae, or Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’, or one of many cultivated varieties.  They are quite common around Toronto, but will put a dent in your budget if you are looking for a long hedge/ large number of trees. These can be planted about 12 inches to 2 feet apart, depending on the size (height) of your trees and whether you have enough to plant them closely together. Some people prefer to reduce costs by spacing them 2 feet apart and allowing them to grow together over many years. These trees can grow six feet wide in ideal conditions, so you can either hedge prune them, to keep a more formal looking hedge- which takes up less room, or make sure you have a bed around six to eight feet wide from your patio to the fence. Heres what they look like: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=m550