What is the minimum spacing you can use between plants in a hedge made of
Photinia Red Robin? I want to be aggressive about this and I want to
maximize the density of the hedge. I am willing to have the health of
individual plants be sub optimal if that means the hedge overall will be
'Red Robin' appears to be a variety within P. fraseri, about half the
size of the usual 'Birmingham'. Since 'Birmingham' can grow 10-15 feet
high and equally wide, that would make 'Red Robin' 5-7 feet high and
again equally wide. Thus, I would not plant them closer than 3 feet
If you want a really dense hedge, stagger them while maintaining a 3
foot spacing, as follows:
x x x x
x x x x
The rows are NOT 3 feet apart, and the shrubs are NOT 3 feet apart in
each row. Instead, the first plant in the second row is 3 diagonal feet
from the first plant in the first row; and the second plant in the first
row is 3 diagonal feet from the first plant in the scond row; etc.
If you stagger them with the rows closer together
x x x x
x x x x
the spacing in each row increases, requiring fewer shrubs for the length
Since none of the Photinia look good if sheared, the informal appearance
of a staggered hedge will complement the irregular growth of each shrub.
If spaced them very tightly - say one foot or less - what would happen?
The roots would interact in a way that might kill the plant?
Thanks for the other ideas on aligning adjacent rows. But I do wonder in
that case if you would end up starving one side of each row of sunlight.
If they are too crowded, they will not grow as full. Growth between
them will die because of too much shade, shade from adjacent shrubs.
Spacing them 3 feet apart should allow sufficient sun for a continuous
hedge. After all, 'Red Robin' only grows about 5 feet wide, leaving
only about 2 feet of overlap. You do need some overlap to create a
dense hedge. However, you might ask at a local nursery (not a lumber
yard or hardware store) about spacing them 4 feet apart, leaving only 1
foot of overlap.
I am starting to implement your idea here and it's a big win. Even though
I will have to wait for additional height, the improvement in density is
enormous and finally gives the feeling of a real hedge, not just a line of
Does this idea work for Oleander as well?
This would work for any informal hedge.
However, we should not plant oleander where I live (southern
California). Some kind of blight has been killing oleanders from San
Diego to Santa Barbara. I live between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara,
and I already see oleanders dying in my community. One prediction is
that 90% of the oleanders now growing in southern California will be
dead within the next five years. See
It's patently obvious you shouldn't be gardening, you've no patience
for plants to grow. Greater spacing between plants is *always* better
for plant health than closer spacing... that's true for all plants...
allow space for plants to attain their natural growth habit. Best to
err on the side of more generous spacing.
Sorry but in the case of hedging this is not so. If you can still see the
individual plants you have a row of plants not a hedge. Even in a
generously spaced hedge each plant will be constrained to some extent by its
neighbours due to root and light competition and if you pulled it out of
that context it would look asymetrical and possible unattractive (especially
if clipped some places and not others) but in context it is fine. It is
absolutely true that greater spacing will allow plants to attain their
natural habit but that is not relevant as the aim is to grow a *hedge* not a
row of specimens. There is nothing wrong with each shrub not reaching its
full size or natural shape if the whole lot are healthy.
To the OP: don't worry about Brooklyn he treats everybody as if they were
foolish naughty children - don't take it personally.
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