Introduction

Raking mulch when planting privacy hedge
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Q: I want a low-maintenance evergreen privacy hedge. What should I plant? —Gloria Chin, Trumbull, Conn.

Roger Cook replies: Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) is a good choice because it doesn't need pruning to keep its full shape from top to bottom, and adapts to a wide range of growing conditions from Zones 2 to 7—including your Zone 6—as long as it has full sun.

To get a sense of privacy right away, select specimens that are at least 6 feet tall, with green foliage and moist root balls. They'll reach 15 feet or more when mature. These trees need to be planted far enough apart so that they'll be touching when full grown; they'll be stunted if put too close together. The spacing depends on the variety you choose. (Find more plants that work as privacy hedges and learn about their proper spacing at Evergreen Privacy Screens.)

In time, as your hedge fills in, you'll have a solid wall of green to enjoy year-round.
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