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Emerald Cedars as Privacy Fence?

Q: To create a privacy screen on the residential property in southern Ontario I am looking at Emerald cedars and plant them close together along a cedar fence. Full sun is going to be the condition. Alberta Spruce would be nice too but they grow very slowly, it appears. I would need about 80 of them.

Would you comment on the choice and reflect on source supply in CAD or US?

Many thanks,

A: Of the 2, I would opt for the Emerald cedar. Although cedars can also get spider mites, I find them easier to control on a cedar than a dwarf Alberta spruce (just my experience, others may have different results). Also, the cedars will grow a bit faster, so they will fill in the hedgerow faster.

I suggest planting them in a zigzag pattern instead of in a straight row. This will lend more interest visually, plus it'll give the cedars a little more room to spread.

Also, I wouldn't plant them snug up against each other even though this gives an install "green wall". As they grow, they'll crowd each other and become sparse, which will eventually lead to a "thinned out" green wall. Better to let them spread their wings -- it'll give you a denser hedgerow in the long run.

As for availability, either should be readily available in either Canada or the U.S. The cedars will likely be less expensive, and you will probably be able to get bigger cedars than dwarf Alberta spruces, so you'll start off with a bigger hedgerow with the cedars.

I would apply an anti-transpirant before or after you plant them to reduce moisture loss during the transplant shock they will go through. Be sure to water properly once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. Repeat the anti-transpirant in fall to help reduce moisture loss in the winter, especially if they are in a windy area.

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Tom Mugridge

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