We will be planting some 3 foot junipers as a privacy screen /
windbreak. The spread for these trees is 8-15 ft. We do not want to
wait until the trees mature for privacy. I am thinking that planting
them 5-6 ft apart will give me a decent appearance within a few years.
My questions are by not allowing for the full spread what kind of
problems am I looking at down the road? Cosmetic or will they injure
the trees? How long will it take for the trees to reach the estimated
spread? We are looking at junipers vs aboritas because of the fruit
attraction for birds.
If I allow for the full spread and plant 8-15 ft apart are there
"filler" plants that I can use that will keep up with but not overtake
Depending upon the length of the planting, using all of one species may not
be the best solution. If one dies, the replacement will never catch up and
there will always be a "runt" in the lineup. If a disease takes hold it is
easy to spread through the whole group and they all look bad. If a serious
disease problem moves in you lose them all, and all at once.
As to your specific question, in anyone's list of beginner's mistakes, the
top item is usually planting things too close together, or too close to the
house. If you plant them too close together, in five years you'll wish you
hadn't, and five years goes by pretty fast.
If you insist on just junipers, I'd suggest planting them far enough apart
so that you can still walk between the adult trees, and consider planting
two rows, with the second row staggered to visually block the gaps of the
It looks to me like you have a good opportunity here to put in landscaping
that will be dramatic yet easy care and should enhance the value of your
property. Using two or more species should give visual interest while still
providing the screening and nature benefits you're seeking. It depends upon
a lot of things, especially the size of the property and your location (plus
how long you plan on living in the house) but you can have a line of
junipers and also include magnolias, crepe myrtles, Orchid trees and other
colorful trees (if you're in the south) or lilacs, purple-leaf plums,
flowering crabapples, etc. if you're further north. Try to arrange these in
bunches rather than lines and you'll have both the privacy you want and
color through most of the year. Regards --
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