When is the right time to plant a row of 5 Fagus sylvatica ‘Fastigiata’ trees?


Hello, We live near Casa Loma in Toronto. We would like to plant five 14 foot hedging beech trees (fagus sylvatica) along a 7 foot 6 inch fence to gain more privacy. The trees will face west (fence behind them to the east).
Our question is when is the best time to plant them?
Also, how far apart should 14 foot hedging beech be spaced? Any other words of advice are welcome!
Thank you so much!


Thank you for writing with your hedge question, a very wise part of ‘planning-before-planting’!

Fagus sylvatica, known as European, or Common, Beech, as a mature tree, can attain a majestic height of 50–60′ and a robust spread of 35–45′ at maturity. However, Beech also enjoys a long history as a beloved hedge row planting — with consistent and heavy pruning for both height and breadth. You should be able to prune to your desired 14′ height.

To answer your question re spacing, the scenario you describe seems to be that you have a fence along the east limit of your property, and you would like to grow a privacy hedge, to the west side of, and parallel to, the fence. Also you have a total of 90″ (228 cm) available to plant. If you have 5 plants, you want to divide your length into five (5) equal 18″ (46 cm) sections, then plant on-centre. This will allow for equal growth at either end of the row.

Plant any time now (late November), to late winter, as long as the soil is workable. Wishing you best success with your hedge — and for more helpful knowledge on this subject, attached is another Toronto Master Gardener advisory regarding Pruning Beech Hedges