Evergreen screen for shade and clay soil

inbloomingtonDecember 21, 2006

Hi --

I'd like to plant an everygreen screen to block out the view of the neighbor's dog run. The area is 100 feet long and there are 4 large mature maple trees shading it already. I'm in Southern Indiana, so I've got heavy clay soil. This site is at the top of a small rise (3 feet, apx.) so it should be well-drained, as that goes around here!

Of course, I want this to grow as fast as possible, as in yesterday. :-) I'd like to go for a more natural, woodsy look, rather than a straight line of arborviate or a trimmed hedge. One last requirement -- I'd rather the trees not get too huge, since there are power lines right over the property line. (So white pines are out) Oh, and I have a toddler, so nothing poisonous -- Yews are out too.

What would you recommend?



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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

I have had good success growing hemlocks in that type of location. As long as it drains OK the soil shouldn't be a problem. Just mulch well to make sure they don't get to dry until they get established. David

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 4:22PM
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Hemlocks sound really nice. Another choice is chamaecyparis pisifera - some are soft with trailing branch ends and come in a variety of sizes, shades of green to gold.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 6:38PM
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I am having good luck with eastern red cedar (juniperus virginiana) in shade near sugar maples, clay, alkaline soil. Going on 2 seasons now they are growing very well.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 10:02AM
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That sounds like a local nursery purchase and a pricey one. To plant species trees, you'd be planting the wrong thing as they'd reach into the canopies too soon and just aren't the right plant.

You'll need a mixture of larger potted plants like PJM Rhododendron, Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd', Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Globe', Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula' (staked to achieve height), Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag', Any large-sized broadleaved Rhododendrons, Tsuga canadensis 'Gentsch White', any Tsuga canadensis cultivar; you could add Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diablo' as it's deciduous branch structure is dense. Large Potted Hollies & Boxwoods. You could tuck in Japanese Maples. Then again when winter strolls along, all the leaves on the Rhodies will curl up.

I don't know. Hemlocks would be your overall best choice.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 3:54PM
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Thanks for the advice. Looks like it will be hemlocks, but maybe I'll get creative and mix it up a bit.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 11:33AM
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what about the wolly adelgids; that may threaten them and they don`t tolerate drought well either.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 4:26PM
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picea(6A Cinci- Oh)

American holly looks nice in that setting. They are slow growing but if you are going to mix thing it might work. You could also mix in a Bracken Brown Beauty Southern magnolia if there is not to much wind. David

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 10:24PM
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not a conifer but a broadleaf evergreen that would add some diversity to the conifers - Viburnum 'Pragense'.

Evergreen, but can defoliate from sever winter conditions (as can the holly), but re-spouts new foliage and stems the following spring. Can go about 10-12 feet tall and as wide. Google can provide you more info. This plant has proved to be reliably hardy here in the Dayton Ohio area.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 9:13AM
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Junipers won't grow in the shade they will eventually thin and look spindly.
You can use Cryptomeria japonica 'Yoshino' /Japanese Cedar (fast growing) but must have good drainage. add sand and/or gravel to soil when planting or Leyland cypress and trim them ( they get tall) I hand prune mine for a natural look. These are not heavy evergreens so they shouldn't interfere with wires.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 8:41PM
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