Answer: Probably the best candidate for your screening hedge is Thuja occidentalis (American Arborvitae). These conical or pyramid-shaped needled evergreens are practically maintenance free. Roots of a maple, or most any tree, will generally spread out over a surface area of one and one-half times the diameter of the canopy of the tree. Depending upon the size of your maple, you may or may not run into roots when you dig holes for the Thuja. Digging shouldn't compromise the health of the maple, but you should expect that the new plants will really have to compete with the established roots for their share of moisture and nutrients. With this in mind, water your new plants as required until they are firmly established. One inch of water per week is generally sufficient for shrubs and young trees.
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