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 them 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, none of it in the summer, and with California's typical wide variation. We're going to be lucky to get 4" this year.

Rosefolly

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey folly .. you said:

Dwarf forms that would end up around 8-12

===>> no tree.. and that is what a conifer is.. magically stops growing at a magical height..

its all about how long it takes to get to that height.. and how fast is goes right past that height ...

link below to intro to conifers...

so a dwarf.. has a 6 inch potential.. so it will take it near 24 years to get to 12 feet or so.. depending how large you start with ...

is that enough time.. lol ...

i know nothing about conifers in your zone.. so i will leave that o the other peeps ...

good luck

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 3:39PM
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mmajicmann(5b)

may i suggest Abies lasiocarpa 'Compacta'

Here is a link that might be useful: it's soft

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 7:10PM
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sluice

Here are some columnar conifers growing in Northern California. They do get big after a while, but they also make a good exclamation point!

columnar conifers

columnar conifers

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:50AM
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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

A good weeping form.

Picea abies 'Inversa'

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Picea a. 'Inversa'

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 7:32AM
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coniferjoy(z7 The Netherlands)

Another good weeping form:
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Filip's Golden Tears'

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 10:43AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Edwin,

I really REALLY like Golden Tears, I know that Chamaecyparis lawsoniana appears to be listed as a zone 5 plant. Do you think I could squeak it into a zone 4 if I place it in a protected spot?

Does anyone in the US have this plant? It should be an easy plant to propagate.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 11:25AM
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dirtbath(7)

coniferjoy, Your 'Filip's Golden Tears' is definitely an

awesome looking weeper! The coloring is very eye catching.

Jack

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:04PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i couldnt even squeak laws into zone 5.. since they are a z6 plant.. and dont believe anyone who tells you otherwise...

lost 15 of them ... at 3 bucks a piece ..

start your own post if you wish to discuss further .. as i am sure this z9 peep has no need for further discussion about laws in z4 or 5 ...

nice pix sluice.. all i would need is the pool .. lol .. are those the dreaded cypress or whatever ....

ken

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 12:30PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Ken, thanks...nuf said. I don't want to infringe on Rosefolly's post. Hopefully, more people will share ideas for columnar conifers.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 9:32PM
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sluice

Yea Ken, those are a fastigiate form of Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) as ID'd by Resin a while back.

Edwin, that's a fine looking plant!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2012 at 11:14PM
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mmajicmann(5b)

Moonglow Juniper
Juniperus scopulorum 'Moonglow'

Columnar Blue Spruce
Picea pungens f. glauca 'Fastigata'

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 1:03AM
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baxz5oh(5)

Juniperus Scopulorum + Picea Pungens + ZONE 9 = disappointment.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 6:34AM
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mmajicmann(5b)

possibilities...

Here is a link that might be useful: check sizes

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 7:34AM
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arauquoia(z7b GA)

Araucaria columnaris from New Caledonia. They do get tall, however.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 8:12PM
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scotjute

There are dwarf or semi-dwarf versions of Cupressus sempervirens, that are listed for 20 - 25'. Perhaps go with those and plan on removal every 15-20 yrs.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

The last suggestion is the best one, as already mentioned the others are liable to have issues. True firs, Colorado spruces and Rocky Mountain junipers very often do not maintain an attractive appearance even in Seattle (USDA 8). The first get bugs, the second bugs and algae, and the third gets algae and opens up.

Although some kinds can still be found at local independent garden centers most years, Lawson cypress isn't nearly as prevalent on the market as it appears it used to be. Multiple different forms do remain very common in older parts of the planted landscape. But I don't think I've ever seen the cultivar shown above for sale here. Maybe a conifer specialist has brought it in.

I've seen Monrovia's 'Monshell' Italian cypress offered here a few times. It is expensive, but maybe that would not be a problem in this instance. Photos and description are on their web site.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:46PM
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rosefolly

I ended up planting 'Tiny Towers' Italian cypress. And I planted it on a terraced slope, where it can grow to its full height without problem.

Thank you, everyone. I am enjoying exploring the planting of trees after many years of focusing mostly on roses. Fortunately I have enough space to indulge in both kinds of plants.

Roefolly

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 5:03PM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)

Rosefolly,

Good luck with your Tiny Towers. I hope you will share photos of it. A garden with roses and conifers will be stunning.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:59PM
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