Considering columnar conifers

rosefollyMarch 2, 2012

I would like to introduce a few conifers into my garden for design reasons. I am thinking of them as exclamation points. I'm particularly looking for ones that won't get too big too quickly. Dwarf forms that would end up around 8-12 feet at maturity might work well.

I have my garden zoned by water requirements. One area is watered weekly, another is watered every third week, and in the last area, plants are not watered at all once they are established. Ideally I would like cultivars that would do well in all three environments. I don't need it to be the same one.

My soil is a sandy clay on a limestone base. We get an average of 15" of rain a year, with California's typical wide variation. We're going to be lucky to get 4" this year.

Rosefolly

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tropical_thought(San Francisco)

I would ask on conifers forum for drought tolerant selections. I have two dwarf conifers, but they are both high water plants as trees go. You don't want them look brown and ratty.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 2:44PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I grew Golden Arborvitae out at the front house here in Simi Valley, and once established they were never watered. They got to be about 8' tall, they were gorgeous, and they were wonderful at Christmas for greenery. I only took them out because we had to- we replaced the old fence and these two old beauties were in the way.

I recently planted two dwarf ones in my back rose garden, but I don't think they will get enough sun. I love the chartreuse color with the dark red roses- I sure hope they make it. I recommend them very highly- I can't think of a single drawback. They will get pretty big if they get regular water- I don't know how big, but I have a friend with one that is about ten feet tall. They are not skinny, though- not exclamation point skinny, anyway.
Renee

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:35PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I just remembered that hoovb mentioned Skyrocket cypress a while back. You may want to check that out.
Renee

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:29PM
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calistoga_al

My favorite for your purpose is the Irish Yew or Taxus Stricta. It can be kept any size you want for as long as you want. Evergreen and beautiful year around and does not require summer water"once established". Al

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:32AM
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elsch

I recommend starting with the largest size you can afford. I went through a conifer phase, especially liking the fastigiate ones and ultimately ended up getting rid of some really nice plants including skyrocket junipers, arborvitaes(Degroots Spire is a nice narrow one) and yews because they grow so slowly and would have taken a few more years to make even slightly the impact I wanted.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 3:00PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

'Tiny Tower' Italian Cypress. It will get taller than 10' but will do so so slowly it may not be a problem.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:01PM
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gotsomerice(Sunset 23)

Korean fir!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:08PM
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