The Q&A Archives: How close should I plant Photonia Fraseri

Question: I have many photonia plants in CA - some hedges, some trees of various shapes. I have just learned they are evergreen in ID (near Boise) , so I am thinking of buying some 5-gallon plants.

I will be planting them 3' or so from a vinyl fence - and plan to let them grow into a fairly narrow hedge - My question is - how close together should I plant them - to avoid diseases, etc.

Also would welcome any other info you have - for growing them in this climate - in CA mine did get leaf spots - kind of black I think - so maybe I planted them too close together?

Also - would I have good success in this climate growing them into a small tree - or would the tops freeze?


Answer: Red tipped photinia is recommended by the University of Idaho for growing in the Boise region. Photinia is subject to fungal spots but it is generally due to wet weather (or humidity if you're near the coast). I don't think the plants will develop the disease if you avoid overhead watering and allow enough space between the plants to encourage good air circulation. You should be able to plant them 6-8' apart and get good coverage for a dense privacy screen. The beauty in these plants is the new growth, which begins red and turns green with maturity. You'll want to shear the plants annually to encourage lots of healthy new growth. Shearing will remove any spotted leaves, as well. Since they can grow to 25' high and wide, keeping them at 3' wide will be a bit of a challenge. Have you considered growing a narrow upright evergreen shrub instead? Thuja or Skyrocket juniper might be better choices.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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