Hi, I’m hoping to plant 3-4 white spruce trees in my backyard to form a tall privacy hedge, because they grow tall enough (20m) but stay relatively narrow, and are evergreen therefore very low maintenance. My question is: how far apart should I space them when planting so that they grow into each other but don’t compete so much. My yard is a bit shady. I don’t mind losing the low branches over time as long as the trees can stay generally healthy. Also, are they fast growing trees? The ones I’ll get will probably from Sharidan Nursery at about 7-8 ft tall. Can I expect them to grow 2 ft annually once established? I heard the blue spruce grows very slowly but this one is much faster. Would like to confirm whether the information is correct.
Thanks for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners. White spruce are not considered to be narrow evergreens which makes them great for a windbreak or for privacy. To accommodate a fully grown white spruce for a privacy hedge, it should be planted around 20-25′ from its neighbour. However if you don’t want to plant them that far apart to start you can plant them 12′ apart and then as they age remove every 2nd one. If you do this you will need to plant six to eight trees to start. If that still looks too sparse, you can plant the trees at 6′ spacing and then keep removing some as they grow. You can also plant some other species between the spruce trees, so that the gaps are filled in. If you choose that route you need to choose shrubs that would not shade the spruce trees. You also need to assess the existing level of shade in your backyard. Although white spruce trees tolerate some shade, they need at least four hours of full sun or they will start to lose their needles. White spruce trees grow at a low to medium rate which is approximately 12 inches to 24 inches annually. With ideal growing conditions, specifically full sun and a moist acidic soil, the trees might grow 24 inches. For more information about white spruce please review the following sites: