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Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

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Spacing Recommendations

In order for your plantings to succeed and fully grow, each planting must have ample space surrounding it.  Below are some recommendations by function and species as to how much space is needed.

Windbreaks and Wildlife Habitat Plantings
Spacing for windbreaks and wildlife habitat plantings consist of single-row and multi-row plantings, each having their own distinct spacing recommendations per species. 

The first list below details spacing recommendations for single-row plantings, with the second list detailing space between plantings in the same row of multi-row plantings.

  • Deciduous Trees - 6 to 18 feet
  • Pines - 8 to 10 feet
  • Eastern Redcedar - 6 to 8 feet
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper - 6 feet
  • Shrubs - 3 to 6 feet
  • Small Deciduous Trees - 6 to 12 feet
  • Large Deciduous Trees - 8 to 18 feet
  • Pines - 8 to 16 feet
  • Eastern Redcedar - 6 to 8 feet for exterior rows, 8 to 12 feet for interior rows
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper - 6 to 10 feet
  • Shrubs - 3 to 6 feet

Spacing of plantings between rows of multi-row plantings also have varying recommendations, depending on which part of the state of Kansas the plantings are.

  • Western Kansas - 12 to 18 feet
  • Central and Eastern Kansas - 10 to 16 feet
  • Large, fast growing trees statewide - 20+ feet from shrubs and slow-growing trees

The spacing recommendations above take into account the desire to create a windbreak that also serves as wildlife habitat. If you are trying to primarily create wildlife habitat without the desire for a windbreak then there are two approaches to spacing the large deciduous trees. The first approach is to plant the seedlings at the recommendations given above and then remove trees as they begin to compete with each other so that the remaining trees can continue to grow to their greatest potential. The second approach is to space seedlings farther apart from the beginning. (For large deciduous trees for example plant at 20-30 feet apart). The first approach will ensure the greatest potential for mature plants at maturity, but also includes greater start-up costs. The second approach cost less to establish, however because fewer trees are being planted, there are greater chances that you may not end up with your desired amount of trees when they are mature.

Spacing In Woodlots
Plantings destined for firewood should be spaced in 6 x 10 feet rectangular grids or 8 x 8 square grids.  If the plantings are for timber, space them in 10 x 10 feet to 15 x 15 square grids.

Spacing For Erosion Control
Shrubs used for erosion control should be spaced 1 1/2 to 4 feet apart.  Evergreens should be separated by 6 to 10 feet, while deciduous trees should be 4 to 8 feet apart.

Spacing For Christmas Trees
Christmas Trees should utilize spacing grids ranging from 6 x 6 to 7 x 7 feet.