Odor spread

How far can the odor of an outdoor garden spread? Or put another way, how far off the beaten path should I plant to ensure no one will smell my plants? I grow a few large plants, 10-15 feet tall.
Sacramento, California

Let’s take the worst case scenario; a very hot, sunny day with very little breeze as the plant is nearing maturity and becoming very pungent. The sun and the heat cause the mono-terpenes and di-terpenes ? the molecules that we smell ? to evaporate and hang in the air. They slowly spread over a wider area. At 50 feet a single plant is smelled in wisps and wafts. The odor of three plants should spread no further than 100 feet. After that it gets too dilute to catch except with occasional wisps. During the hottest days, the plants are usually still in vegetative stage and they don’t have much odor. They start flowering as the intensity of the light is decreasing and the temperature is decreasing.

With cooler weather and a breeze, the intensity of the odor decreases and is diluted. It is much harder to catch a whiff and even harder to place the location of its origin.

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