What order to plant a natural fence over a few years.

Han123(5a)May 14, 2014


I am researching a natural fence for a large property in Zone 5b (-25oC - canada). The fence will be next to a busy road and approx 400 ft long. The house is approx 300 ft from where the fence will be. So excessive height is not an issue. The area has full sun, and very little shade. We have a healthy deer population.

The main reason for the fence is privacy, but wind breaker would also be useful.

I am considering a combination of trees and possibly some shrubs. I have listed some below that I have looked at and would welcome any comments and warnings.

Thuja Smaragd (Emerald Green Cedar) - for its salt resistance - there is a lot of spray from the road damaged neighbors trees
Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky Mountain Juniper )
Thuja Plicata (Western Red Cedar)
Pseudotsuga Menziesii (Douglas Fir)
Tsuga (Eastern Hemlock)
Thuja Green Giant
Leyland Cyprus
Prunus (English Laurel)

Due to the cost of this fence, I am going to have to plant over two or three years. I would appreciate any advice in which order I should plant the trees / shrubs.

Many thanks in advance

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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Get your large-growing trees in first. That's called "the backbone." Later you will plant shrubs.

If you have dry air and a non-humid environment then you'll grow Doug fir & J.scopulorum very well. If not dry air, you need to nix these. Additionally, Leyland cypress should be nixed al-together as it isn't hardy for zone 5a.

Figure your spacing for the larger trees... a written plan is always a good idea. You'll need to learn what size any given plant will be at 10-years and at 20-years and so on. Trees only become taller and wider as time passes. From there you'll need to find your own compromise with time in mind for the distance you'll space each cultivar/species.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:14AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i moved from suburbia.. to 5 acres ... 500 feet on a side ... 4 sides.. if that need be said.. lol ...

in suburbia... you need to mess at the lot line.. because you dont have anywhere else to do this...

it took me a few years out here in Gods country to understand that isnt so on a large space ...

let me be very clear ... THERE IS NO REASON FOR YOU TO BE WORKING AT THE LOT LINE ... 300 feet from the house ...

you can probably do the whole job.. with 4 or 5 well spaced and sized trees/conifers... about 50 feet from the house ... working off 'views' from decks.. windows.. etc ...

those are the first plants to put in ...

then you go mess around 300 feet from the house ...

i dont know about canada ... but what you are building.. is a soil conservation tree line.. which in your world.. is a sight block line... my county soil conservation office ... offers small.. CHEAP trees.. conifers.. and shrubs ... at proper planting times... for next to nothing ... say 25 plants in the one to two foot range for $15 .... this is how you plant 400 feet ... you dont go buying potted stock.. unless you win the lotto ... of which.. you already said.. your budget is limited ... but you might invest in the larger stock.. for the first mentioned plants ...

you should have a lot of local or provincial resources.. find them .. unfortunately .... i dont know the key words to help you ... call an agricultural office ...

sooo.. in other words.. you are sitting in a box.. at the lot line.. lets get out of the box.. and widen our options ...

i am a 'see it with my eyes' sort of guy.. your words fail to trigger any ideas in my head ... how about some pix????

spend some time at the link ... to learn about buying forestry sized.. and priced stock ... you of course.. would have to find a canadian equivalent .... i have no clue what you think your budget is.. but if you are working on 400 feet.. let me suggest.. this is the type of resource you need.. rather than bigboxstore etc ... perhaps it is within your budget ... to do it all now ????


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 9:54AM
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wannabegardnr(7 Maryland)

Thuja Smaragd (Emerald Green Cedar) is not deer resistant, at least where I live, and very slow growing and narrow.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:10AM
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midtn(7a TN)

Depending on your location you may be forgetting a couple no-brainers. Norway Spruce, White Pine, Concolor Fir, Colorado Spruce.

I agree with Ken. If you are 300 ft from your house and you are working on privacy that is a lot of territory and height to cover. Why not put those plants to work where you can more easily enjoy them?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:12PM
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Thanks for all the great input and advice.

So, I currently have a number of trees by the house which provide some cover. What I a looking to do is build a visual and wind barrier at the road side, far enough away to maintain the frount yard for the kids football/hockey pitch whilst maintain line some view of them. (not possible behind the house due to barns/outbuildings.)

I a planning to make the barrier 3-4 trees deep + shrubs. Obviously I would like some barrier now, but I a also planning for the next 10-20 years. So I want to do it right first time.

We live by Lake Ontario, with humid summers, and I should have mentioned the heavy heavy clay soil here.

I am trying to plant native species, and in my ignorance, thought Norway Spruce was an import. So yes I can definitely consider this.

I am open to spending a $500 (probably ore the first year) a year on this for the next 4-5 years. The local conservation insist on 500 trees and its for reforestation, also they are only 10 cm in height. To start I was hoping to find 24 inch (60cm) trees.

I think I am to late this year (sigh),we went from winter to summer in 3-4 weeks this year, but at least I now have 10 months to plan and order. There is a place 2 hr from here which I have found, but there last day is today, they only open 3 weeks a year for sales.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Fall can be a great time to plant.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 7:35AM
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I think a long row of norway spruce is a natural choice to get started. Graceful, they grow fast, and can be had on the cheap.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:22AM
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