Evergreen Parking Strip Tree

luke242(8)April 21, 2013

I live in Seattle, and have a 10 foot wide 100 foot long parking strip running north to south that gets a decent amount of sun. A phone wire (not power) runs 15 feet above the parking strip at its lowest point. I'd like a number of evergreen trees to provide a screen against a neighbor's house across the street that sits up on a hill and has many windows that look into two bedrooms. A complete screen would be about 15 feet high, but could be effective at a slightly lower height. I think I want a classic tree shape, but I am open to other ideas or to light training.

The options I have seen by my initial searches are arbutus marina (though I've heard it's difficult to start and may not grow straight), magnolia grandiflora, or certain azara varieties. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

As background, I just bought a house and have nearly zero gardening knowledge, but I am excited to learn and to turning the yard around over the next five years or more.


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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You're supposed to work with the city on street tree plantings there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seattle Department of Transportation �

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:25AM
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George Three LLC

Quercus Ilex is what I would pick from that list if I was you.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:26PM
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Thanks! The Quercus Ilex looks nice, but it might be too tall given that I am planting under wires. I had seen the Seattle list, which is where I got the arbutus marina and magnolia grandiflora ideas. The web site says Seattle may approve off list trees, which I why I was considering an azara (or specifically, an azara microphylla). I got this idea from the "Great Plant Picks" web site.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:37PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

That often produces vertical, vigorous growth when young - having it pointing at the wires might be psychologically bothersome. And, as with the arbutus there is the hardiness issue. There are numbers of both around right now, but the last serious thinning of the herd here was in 1990.

A good way to check on Seattle presence and performance of particular trees is to get a copy of the handbook Trees of Seattle - Second Edition by Arthur Lee Jacobson. He describes each tree, comments on its behavior here and gives locations of multiple examples (when that many are known) that can be viewed in person.

He also often measures the larger ones here, in addition to mentioning champions known elsewhere in the world. For instance, he reports that the California tree that the 'Marina' cultivar was based on was over 46' tall by 1994 (it is believed to have been brought from Europe in 1917!).

The azara does have heights of local plantings given, most of the figures probably dating from 2005. These range from 19' (Good Shepherd Center) to 40' (Arboretum).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 1:11PM
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That list doesn't give many good evergreen options. Does the city really check to see what you've planted? Or will they only care if your tree is touching power lines or buckling the pavement?

If not, and you want something to grow in quickly, some of the smaller arborvitae (Thuja sp.) are easy to find at Home Depot and will work well. If you get at least 6 hours of full sun in this spot, the native Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica) will get about 8' tall quickly. Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides) will get about 8' tall fast. If you don't waiting 5 years for 8' of growth, Austin Griffiths Manzanita would probably work well (will get to 15' eventually).

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

There is an impressive Arctostaphylos manzanita in Montlake. If you want to try something less usual and more interesting, such as this shrub/small tree have a look at the Desert Northwest web pages.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 11:01PM
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