It all depends on how fast you want them to touch. Most of our trees will eventually grow to about 50′ tall and 10 – 15′ wide. (Hollies reach 20′ tall, 8′ wide.) For a quick screen, plant Leylands and Carolina Sapphire 6’ – 7’ apart. Green Giants 5’ apart. Holly as close as 4’ apart. We’ve seen recommendations of even closer, but our thinking is; these are trees, give them as much space as you can.

If you have room, another approach is to plant 2 parallel rows, 8 – 10′ apart with the trees 6′ – 10′ apart in each row. But you stagger the plantings so that they look 3′ – 5′ apart. …If that makes sense!


Most of our customers in zones 5 & 6 seem to prefer to plant in the spring after the ground thaws. However, we suggested to a customer from Chicago that he ask the local professionals what they thought and he was told (from a tree farm in his area) that they are great to plant up to 6 weeks before the ground freezes. That’s probably not a good recommendation for all plants, but it might be fine with the Green giants which appear to be pretty tough and cold hardy. One thing to keep in mind is that these will be coming from SC which is a drastic change from a northern climate. It would probably be wise to let them adjust a bit to your part of the country by keeping them in a protected place like a garage or shed for a week or so before planting. Keeping them watered, of course.


It’s a matter of soil conditions, nutrition, weather, irrigation, etc. If you’re in good soil and have good nutrition and decent rainfall, they’ll be established by the end of the growing season and you’ll see some growth the first year, mostly in the 2nd half of the summer. If you’re in sandy soils, and go through many dry times, it could take 2 or 3 years before they really start to move.

Typically, the smaller trees tend to spend the first year getting established with only a little new growth. The 2nd year should see improved growth, and then the 3rd year they should start to reach their 3′ per year rate. It can happen sooner if conditions are favorable.  The quart & 1 Gallon sizes should establish more quickly.

Some keys are, don’t plant where water tends to stand (they like moisture but want it well-drained), keep grass and weeds away during the first year, and water thoroughly once a week in sandy soils. Also, they like a soil ph around 6.0. That can be determined with a soil test. Adjusting to the proper ph effects the dynamics of the soil/plant relationship and increases the ability of the tree to take up nutrients.

See our Planting Tips page for more suggestions.