Arborvitae for Privacy Fence: A Complete Guide

 Arborvitae For Privacy Fence: A Complete Guide Source:

Creating a Private Oasis with Arborvitae

As homeowners, there is nothing more important than privacy. We all want to enjoy our yards without the prying eyes of neighbors or passersby. One of the best ways to achieve this is by installing a privacy fence. However, not all fences are created equal, and some can be an eyesore or require constant maintenance. Fortunately, there is a natural and beautiful solution: arborvitae. In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about using arborvitae for privacy fencing.

What are Arborvitae?

Arborvitae (Thuja spp.) is a genus of trees and shrubs that belong to the cypress family. There are five species within the genus, but the most commonly used for privacy fencing are Eastern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’). These evergreens can grow up to 60 feet tall in nature and have a pyramidal or conical shape.

The Benefits of Arborvitae

Arborvitae are an excellent choice for privacy fencing for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits:

Benefits Description
Natural Beauty Arborvitae’s lush green foliage adds a beautiful and natural element to any landscape.
Fast Growth With a growth rate of up to 2 feet per year, arborvitae quickly creates a barrier between your yard and the outside world.
Low Maintenance Arborvitae requires little to no pruning or shearing to maintain its shape.
Pest and Disease Resistant Arborvitae is generally free of pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance option for privacy fencing.
Drought Tolerant Once established, arborvitae is incredibly tolerant of drought conditions.
Environmentally Friendly Using arborvitae as a privacy fence is an environmentally friendly choice that helps reduce noise and air pollution.
Cost-Effective Compared to other privacy fence options, such as brick or stone, arborvitae is a more cost-effective solution.

The Cons of Arborvitae

While arborvitae has many benefits, there are also some considerations to keep in mind. Here are some of the cons:

Cons Description
Prone to Browning If arborvitae is not planted in the right location or receives too much or too little water, it can turn brown and become unsightly.
Vulnerable to Wind Damage The shallow root system of arborvitae makes it vulnerable to wind damage.
Can Grow Too Large If left unpruned or unsheared, arborvitae can grow too large and become a nuisance.
Not a Complete Barrier While arborvitae can create a significant barrier, it does not completely block out noise or visual distractions from all angles.

FAQs About Arborvitae for Privacy Fence

1. How far apart should I plant arborvitae for a privacy fence?

For a tight privacy fence, plant arborvitae 3 to 4 feet apart. For a staggered effect, plant them 5 to 6 feet apart.

2. Can arborvitae be grown in containers?

Yes, arborvitae can be grown in containers. However, they will require regular watering and fertilization.

3. How tall do arborvitae grow?

Arborvitae can grow up to 60 feet tall in nature, but when used for privacy fencing, they are typically sheared to maintain a height of 6 to 12 feet.

4. How do I prune arborvitae for a privacy fence?

Prune arborvitae in late winter or early spring before new growth appears. Use a hand pruner or hedge trimmer to remove any dead or damaged branches and to shape the tree to the desired height and width.

5. How much sun do arborvitae need?

Arborvitae prefers full sun to partial shade.

6. Can arborvitae be used as a sound barrier?

Yes, arborvitae can help reduce noise pollution, but it will not block all noise from all angles.

7. How often do I need to water arborvitae?

Water arborvitae deeply once a week, more often if the soil is dry or during periods of drought.

8. How long does it take for arborvitae to grow to six feet?

With a growth rate of up to 2 feet per year, it will take about three years for arborvitae to grow to six feet.

9. What is the best soil for arborvitae?

Arborvitae grows best in well-draining, slightly acidic soil.

10. Can arborvitae be planted in the winter?

Yes, arborvitae can be planted in the winter as long as the ground is not frozen.

11. How do I prevent arborvitae from turning brown?

Plant arborvitae in a location with well-draining soil, and water it deeply once a week. Avoid overwatering or underwatering, which can cause browning.

12. Can arborvitae be used as a property line marker?

Yes, arborvitae can be used as a property line marker, but be sure to check local zoning laws regarding fence height and property lines.

13. Can you eat arborvitae?

No, arborvitae is not edible and can be toxic if ingested.


Arborvitae is an excellent choice for creating a natural and beautiful privacy fence. It has many benefits, including fast growth, low maintenance, and cost-effectiveness, but it also has some cons to consider. When planting arborvitae, be sure to choose the right location, water it deeply once a week, and prune it regularly to keep it looking its best. With proper care, arborvitae can create a private oasis for you to enjoy for years to come.

Thank you for reading, and we hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.


The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Always consult with a licensed professional before making any changes to your landscape or property.

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