Spring planting plans

treebarb Z5 DenverJanuary 9, 2011

The weather outside is frightful! I'm curled up ordering plants.

I'm planning on ordering 30 Pinon pine and 50 Caragana seedlings to add a couple of layers to the windbreak I've started on the north side of my house. I have 30 feet from the house to the fence line. North of that is a ditch, 2 lane highway and miles of open farm field. It's tough area, windy and noisy. The planting area is 30 feet wide by 100 feet long.

In the spring of 09 I planted a row of lilacs seedlings against the fence and a row of RMJ seedlings south of the lilacs. The RMJ's all survived. DH weedwhacked a few of the lilacs and a couple just didn't make it. I plan to plant the cargana to fill in the open spots along the fence.

I think the drought tolerance and soil requirements of the Pinons, RMJ's, Caragana's and Lilacs are similar enough to make them good companions.

I don't plan on planting the pinon in a row. I think groupings of 3 - 5 in curves would look better.

My last soil test was 7.9 ph clay loam with a recommendation to add 1 lb nitrogen and 1 lb phosphorus per 1,000 sq ft. Sar was 4.0, lime % high, mineral levels were all high, salt was low.

The dh spent considerable time trying to load/imbed a couple of photos taken from inside the house this morning. You can't really see the seedlings, but you can see the fences to get a general idea of the space. Obviously, weeding is an ongoing battle and something I need to get a handle on.

I'm interested in your feedback and experience with the caraganas and pinons.

Here, I hope, is the photo link.



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Dan Staley

After establishment, Barb, leave the pi�on alone. No water. Probably the same with the peashrub. Sadly, the lilacs will need some water. Try not to water the others when watering the lilacs. Other than that, should be a fun mix and hopefully will take and work.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 7:52PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Thanks, Dan! I run a few soaker hoses along the fence to water the lilacs and another row for the junipers, one advantage to planting in rows. In 2 or 3 years I'll just keep the soaker hoses on the lilacs and leave the rest be.
I was considering White firs and Southwest white pines, but they would ultimately overwhelm the small space. The house being so close to the ditch really eliminates the ability to build a proper windbreak, so I'm just going to piece it in.
What I'd really like is to build a 10 foot high stone wall, the entire length of the property, but I don't see that happening.;)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 8:28PM
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Dan Staley

White fir aren't adapted Barb. They are from the wet western slope of the Sierra and parts of the Cascades where there is ~25-60 inches of water equivalent snow most years (less lately with climate change). Where it is drier the pine take over. The white pine may work, but they are big and susceptible these days in urbanized areas to beetle attack. As long as you can keep the shrubs going, you should be OK with your trees for a windbreak. Fun!


    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 10:27AM
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mtny(SW MT zn 3)

another point to remember is caragana is a legume and fixes it's own nitrogen and is quite drought resistant after established....a nearly indestructible plant caragana.... but not a beauty and very likely to out compete lilacs if infilling as discribed .... and relativily short lived, it often benefits from some rejuvenating/harsh pruning after establishment to remove oldest woodiest trunks...evergreens to consider for that application perhaps scotch pine( keep your eye on pine bark beatles in area . ..it is vulnerable) ....definatly tolerant of your conditions....mugo pine also would work as well as the black hills spruce all of which exhibit good growth charicteristics for windbreaks....cotoneaster would also be a possability a rapid grower with nice autumn color and ginnala maple....way underutilized... very hardy in prairies would also be an option

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 12:05PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Dan, thanks for the words of wisdom. So, I actually did the right thing staying away from the firs, just for the wrong reason!
Mtny, I appreciate your thoughts. I do admire the Scotch Pine. but the planting area is 30ft wide and already has a row of lilac and a 2nd row of RMJs. There's not enough space for large trees. Well, unless I chose to ignore proper spacing. Some neighbors a mile down the road built a killer windbreak I really admired. 5 years later they had to rip 2/3rds of it out, because of spacing and disease. Then the lunkheads limbed up the trees about a third of the way up. It looks ridiculous!
Aesthetics are not an issue, just screening.
Thanks again for the feedback!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 3:02PM
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