Technique for planting a hedge and cedar trees according to municipal by-laws, soil type and drainage. Delimit and enjoy your property and a safe backyard

There is nothing like relaxing in the privacy of your own backyard and enjoying perfect peace and quiet. Swimming, spending time in the spa, meals outdoors with family or friends, sitting around the fire: backyard activities you can look forward to again!

A sure thing

You could opt for a fence, of course, but there is no denying the beauty and charm of a cedar hedge. Look on it as a growing investment!

  • Planting cedars will reduce your ecological footprint and allow your soil to store more CO2 and produce oxygen.
  • Cedar trees provide a habitat and food to many species of birds and insects, thereby promoting biodiversity.
  • Cedar hedges create a ‘green screen’ all year long, naturally highlighting your outdoor landscaping.
  • Hedges delineate the property and protect your privacy
  • Cedar hedges are natural wind breaks and sound barriers.
  • A cedar hedge will increase the value of your property by approximately 4% if you plan to sell.

Look at your options

Plant cedars for the ultimate hedge

Before you put in your tree order, it’s important to know whether the installation of a cedar hedge is in fact possible on your property. You also need to be sure you can devote the necessary time to maintenance in the short, medium and long term.

Identify the boundaries of your property

Find the survey lines – If the survey stakes on your property are still there and you’re sure they have not been moved or altered, run a string between them.

No markers or stakes, you’re not sure? Remove any doubt: staking by a land surveyor is the surest way to mark your property line and remove the possibility of a dispute with your neighbors. You’ll have to pay for it, but you can save yourself a lot of grief.

Check for easements

This information can be found in your property’s certificate of location, if it is still valid, and your notarised title to the property. If you no longer have these documents, a notary or surveyor will be able to provide you with the necessary information. Go to the website where you’ll find a number of articles to help you understand your rights, your neighbor’s rights and the rights of any companies with easements governing trees and fences.

Check municipal regulations

Contact your municipality to find out about local by-laws. All regulations concerning hedges and fences are governed at the municipal level, including clearance around property lines, the maximum height allowed, and the types of materials allowed.

Locate underground pipes and wires

Call before you dig! Before you grab your shovel, take the phone instead and call Info-Excavation ( It provides a free information service with the aim of protecting underground infrastructures in Quebec, workers’ and citizens’ safety, and the environment.

Talk to your neighbors about your project

You do not want an argument with your neighbors! The best way to avoid one is to talk to them first about your hedge-planting project. You never know – they may be all in favour of the project and offer to share the responsibility, maintenance and cost of a common hedge. If not, at least they won’t be surprised when a cedar hedge appears next door, as beautiful as it may be.

Check the soil drainage

In order to thrive, cedars require rich and well-drained soil. To know the drainage capacity of your soil:

  • Find the lowest spot in the planned location for your hedge;
  • Dig a hole 30 cm deep;
  • Fill it with water;
  • Watch to see how long it takes for the water to drain away.

If the hole is empty in less than 24 hours, soil drainage is good and you can go ahead and plant.

If there is still water after 24 hours, don’t dig the trench lower than the water level; cedar trees do not do well in wet ground. You will need to build a raised planting area – by simply raising the level of the ground with well-drained soil before you plant.

Plant your cedar hedge

Plant cedars for the ultimate hedge

All conifers are sold bare root, balled and burlaped, or in containers. The aim is to minimize damage to the root system when transplanting and to enable plants to take root more quickly.

When: You can plant cedars any time from May to October, although May is preferable and particularly if your cedars are more than 5 feet tall. Do not plant in periods of excessive heat.

  1. Remove the grass and ground cover on a strip 60 cm wide where you want to plant your hedge. If your understanding with your neighbor is for a medium-sized hedge, remove the grass 30 cm on either side of the line. Otherwise, leave a 25 cm margin between the property line and the section without grass.
  2. Dig a trench 60 cm wide and 45 cm deep. The width exceeds the depth, since cedars have surface roots.
  3. Check the soil quality
    1. Good earth – loosen, then put back 20 cm in the trench.
    2. Sandy – opt for enriched lawn soil.
    3. Loamy – put a layer of gravel at the bottom of the trench to improve drainage. Cover the gravel with 20 cm of enriched lawn soil.
  4. Sprinkle rooting fertilizer rich in phosphorous such as Bone Meal Fertilizer or 10-52-10 Plant Starter Fertilizer in the trench and mix with the earth.
  5. Put in the first cedar. Make sure the root collar is at ground level. Add soil if necessary. Protect the roots from drying out. Pack the earth well around the roots to eliminate all air pockets.
  6. Proceed in the same way for the remaining cedars.
  7. Depending on the degree of privacy you’re looking for, leave a 60-90 cm space between trees, from trunk to trunk, to allow enough room for the foliage to develop.
  8. Water each plant generously.
  9. After planting 10 trees, go back to the first 9, make sure they are straight and solid, then fill in the trench with a mix of planting soil and previously excavated earth. There should not be more than 2-3 cm of earth above the roots.
  10. Proceed in the same way, 10 trees at a time, for the entire layout of the hedge.
  11. Add a little more fertilizer (bone meal) to the surface, a foot on either side of the hedge.
  12. Keep the soil moist, without soaking, for 3 to 4 weeks after planting.