The Q&A Archives: emerald arborvitae or ficus?

Question: I need to plant a privacy screen between us and our close neighbor-about 30 feet long. We thought of the emerald arborvitae. Can we keep it at about 8 feet tall? We live in Ventura, CA near the beach-sandy soil. We also thought about using ficus trees put in pots and submerging them to keep control of their roots. Any advice would be appreciated. Also is now a good time to plant? We would like to get started ASAP.

Answer: Now is an excellent time to plant. I agree with you - if you planted ficus you would be wise to keep the roots contained. Arborvitae are great for providing a screen between neighboring properties. You can top them at 8' and keep them there for a good many years. Topping isn't recommended for areas with winter snow, but I don't think you'll have a problem with that!

Best wishes with your new hedge!

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