Email sent to a customer with advice about planting evergreen windbreaks:
Thanks for your email, sorry for the slow reply, and no need to pay for consulting! We do this all the time 🙂
Double row spacing refers to planting two rows of trees in a footstep pattern. By alternating the placement of the rows much like footsteps in beach sand, the privacy screen will close in much more quickly than if you did a single row of trees at the proper distance. In other words, trees planted approximately 10 feet apart, with another row 10 feet over from it, with the trees offset like footsteps. This page has a ton more about Evergreen Windbreaks
Regarding water, a small berm around each tree is a great way to keep irrigation water close to the tree instead of flowing away. See illustration about halfway down on this page.
Furthermore, you will need to water the trees at at least once or twice per week if no rain. You need to come to grips with bringing water to the trees somehow or risk losing many trees if heat or drought hits during the first or second growing season. We bought a few food grade totes similar to these, for use in a pickup truck for watering in remote locations using the siphon method for watering. We bought a few of them off craigslist for $40 each [had been used for nontoxic purposes prior to purchase].
Another thing that I often mention to people taking on a project like this is to buy multiple species of tree. Some grow faster, some grow slower, some growth thicker, some grow taller. Slower growing trees [Black Hills Spruce, Meyers Spruce] tend to be much more dense than fast growing trees [Norway Spruce]. Colorado blue spruce and white Spruce have a nice balance of both characteristics. Also, a pest or disease which can attack one species often has no effect on another because the two species do not have the same vulnerability points. In other words, a Norway spruce, which is a fast grower, combined with a slower growers such as Black Hills Spruce, and another species such as white cedar or Eastern red Cedar or Leyland cypress is a great combination, and if a pest disease comes along and wipes out an entire species, you do not lose your entire privacy screen.
Let me know if you have any further questions…be glad to help.
Best – Rick
Site Administrator, sporting some rather muddy boots
PO Box 15
Grand Haven, MI 49417
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