Planting and maintaining cedar trees for privacy is a great investment for those who prefer natural barriers like trees and shrubs over fences or retainer walls.
How can I use cedar trees for privacy?
Cedar trees may be planted closely 2 to 3 feet apart, creating natural barriers like hedgerows, or spread 5 to 10 feet apart to make slightly bigger green walls of privacy. Certain cedar tree species may also be planted 15 to 30 feet apart and left to grow into 100-foot tall giants that provide enormous amounts of privacy.
Read on below and explore everything you need to know about using cedar trees for privacy!
Why Choosing Cedar Trees for Privacy?
The reasons for choosing cedar trees for privacy are many. Firstly, cedar trees that are commonly used for privacy are typically very fast-growing compared to others.
The second most significant reason for choosing cedar for privacy is that they stay nice and green all year long. That means you have vibrant green natural privacy even in the dead of winter.
Cedar trees are also more draught-tolerant, as well as require less watering and fertilizing than most other non-evergreen privacy trees and shrubs.
If all that wasn’t already impressive enough, there is also the price and availability of cedar-type privacy trees to consider. In comparison to other privacy tree species, cedar trees are nearly always available no matter what time of year or season it is.
On the other hand, less common landscaping and privacy-type trees cost more and are typically only available during key growing seasons.
How to Plant Cedar Trees for Privacy?
Planting cedar trees for privacy is a fairly simple process once you know what you’re in for.
Below, we discuss the various popular ways to plant cedar trees for privacy in greater detail:
Many cedar trees are perfect for potting, start by selecting a pot that’s at least 50 inches wide or more. Your pot should be as deep as it is wide as well.
Place a few inches of soil in the bottom of the pot and set the cedar tree on top of it, inside the bottom of the pot. Unpack the rootball, and stretch the main roots out in all directions filling the pot in with soil and organic compost as you go.
Stop filling the pot in with the soil at about 3 to 5 inches below the rim. Add 2 to 3 inches of woodchips or mulch to the top of the soil.
Now you’re ready to water and fertilize your newly potted cedar tree.
Planting Cedars In the ground
Planting a cedar tree in the ground is a bit more work than putting one in a pot. Start by digging a hole that is twice as deep as the root ball and at least 3 to 5 times wider.
Place the tree in the hole, rootball first. Unwrap the rootball and stretch the roots out before filling in the hole.
If possible, mix organic matter like compost or mulch into your backfill before filling in your hole. That way the tree has more nutrients to feed on.
Once your hole is filled up, pack down the earth around the central stem, water the tree thoroughly, and add mulch. Two to three inches of mulch is plenty.
Planting a Cedar Fence
To create a cedar tree privacy fence, prepare holes that are at least 2 to 3 feet apart, and no more than 4 to 5 feet apart.
Dig your holes in a straight line, or whatever shape you want your fence to be.
Following the same steps described above, plant a cedar tree into each hole and then water them.
Add a few inches of mulch over the soil, around each tree’s main tree trunk, if possible. This allows for better moisture retention.
Planting Screening with Cedar
A decent cedar screening for privacy isn’t any more complicated to plan and plant than a cedar fence.
In fact, the physical labor involved in planting a cedar screening for your property is the same exact procedure as outlined in the previous section (Fence).
The only difference is that you plant your cedar trees at least 5 to 10 feet apart, rather than 2 to 3 feet apart.
Aftercare (cutting, pruning, watering, and fertilizing)
Once you’ve planted your cedar trees for privacy, it’s time to start with aftercare. The good news is that they require less care than most any other tree species used for privacy or ornamental purposes.
Your cedars require watering once per day for approximately two weeks. Fertilization may be done via watering sessions, with a liquid nutrient, or with classic fertilizer like manure once per year in the spring or autumn.
Cutting and pruning necessities vary for different cedar species.
Some species require pruning up to 3 times per year, such as Leylandi, whereas most cedars require little to no pruning at all. That’s why you need to do thorough research on whatever type of cedar trees you decide to use for privacy.
8 Types of Cedar Trees for Privacy
There are tons of types of cedar trees to choose from when it comes to planting trees for privacy. It is crucial to keep in mind while selecting the best cedar trees for privacy, that not all “cedar” trees are true cedars.
Real cedar trees belong to a genus known as “Cedrus.” Other common tree species that are often called cedar trees include pine, cypress, juniper, and other evergreen species.
Below, we take an in-depth look at all of the most suitable cedar trees for privacy, whether they are genuine Cedrus or otherwise:
1. Leylandi Cypress
The Leylandi Cypress is a super popular cedar tree for privacy that isn’t actually a Cedrus tree.
At any rate, this evergreen grows faster, taller, and wider than almost any other sort of cedar.
Leylandi is perfect for fences, hedges, and screening as well as massive stand-alone sentry/shade trees.
Max height: 100 to 120 feet
Max width: 20 to 30 feet
Growth rate: 24 to 36 inches or more per year
2. Douglas Fir
The Douglas Fir is another good-looking cedar that is actually a conifer, and is quite often used around the home and garden for privacy.
The catch with Douglas Fir as a privacy tree is that it is best used as a fence or screening due to its medium to large size.
Max height: 50 to 70 feet
Max width: 12 to 24 feet
Growth rate: 12 to 24 inches or more per year
3. Lawson Cypress
The Lawson Cypress is obviously not a true Cedrus (the name gives it away), but it is nonetheless a popular cedar for privacy.
The best part about the Lawson Cypress is that it grows fast, takes little care, and works well for everything from hedges to fences and stand-alone sentry trees.
Max height: 90 to 150 feet
Max width: 10 to 25 feet
Growth rate: 5 to 10 inches or more per year
These pyramidal-shaped cedar trees are commonly used for hedges, fences, and screening.
Arborvitae is ideal cedar for privacy due to it being low-maintenance, fast-growing, and much smaller than giants like Leylandi.
Max height: 40 to 60 feet
Max width: 10 to 15 feet
Growth rate: 10 to 24 inches or less per year
5. Concolor Fir
The Concolor Fir is a giant cedar that is perfect for privacy screening and stand-alone sentry trees.
All things considered, the conocolor fir isn’t the greatest option for hedges or fences, as they require massive pruning to keep their size so small.
Max height: 125 to 150 feet
Max width: 15 to 30 feet
Growth rate: 12 to 24 inches per year
Also known as Red Cedar, Thuja is one of the lushest and fastest growing privacy cedar trees that exist.
These massive trees often max out at just 50 feet but can reach well over 100 feet with enough sunlight.
The species grows up to several feet per year, and work well for everything from hedgerows to fences, screening, and stand-alone giants.
Max height: 50 to 75 feet
Max width: 10 to 25 feet
Growth rate: 30 to 36 inches or more per year
7. White Pine
The White Pine is situated lower on our list because while it is excellent for screening and large stand-alone trees, it isn’t the greatest for hedges or potted privacy trees.
White pines are best planted as sentry trees for privacy alone in wide-open properties.
Max height: 50 to 80 feet
Max width: 20 to 40 feet
Growth rate: 24 to 36 inches per year
8. False Cypress
The false cypress is another cedar that is quite often used as a landscaping privacy tree.
Due to their size, they make great potted privacy trees, fences, and hedges.
They also work as screening in a pinch, though their slow growth rate makes them less ideal than other cedar trees on our list.
Max height: 10 to 70 feet
Max width: 5 to 20 feet
Growth rate: 1 to 6 inches per year