Evergreens that can withstand high winds?

robin44444April 12, 2013

Hi. We live on a ridge where winds can be up to 76 mph (highest we've ever recorded), often 50-60 mph in the spring. We're looking for an evergreen tree and tall evergreen shrub that can withstand these high winds to give our very small back yard a new look. It's high desert here; both the tree and shrub will be on an irrigation system. I really like white fir (abies concolor), but I've read that the roots are shallow. The tree will be only about 15 feet from our house. Thanks for any ideas you can offer.

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david52_gw

You might look at Eastern Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana.

"During the Dust Bowl drought of the 1930s, the Prairie States Forest Project encouraged farmers to plant shelterbelts (wind breaks) made of eastern juniper throughout the Great Plains. They grow well under adverse conditions. Both drought tolerant and cold tolerant, they grow well in rocky, sandy, and clay substrate. Competition between trees is minimal, so they can be planted in tightly spaced rows, and the trees still grow to full height, creating a solid windbreak in a short time."

If you live on any acreage at all, you can quality for trees from the Soil Conservancy, and they sell everything you need to set up a decent windbreak - including Eastern Red Cedar.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:01PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Robin.

David has done windbreak plantings and has picked a good tree for you. Can you post a picture of the planting space? I'm curious about the planting site and what kind of space we're talking about. How tall and wide are you looking for on both the tree and shrub? What's your altitude?

A Sea green or Mint Julep juniper might be good for the shrub. They get 4-6 ft tall with a 6-8 ft spread.

Abies concolor is a beautiful tree. I've not had much luck with it, it wants less sun and more wind protection than I can give it at my place.

Barb

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:57AM
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robin44444

I've been gone for a few days and haven't had my computer. David52, thank you very much for your suggestion. I looked at Eastern Red Cedar before I left, and that looks like a possibility. We aren't thinking of a windbreak, just one tree on one side of our house in the back and a large bush on the other to give the back yard some interest, but the cedar you mention looks like it might work very well.

treebarb, I can't at this moment find a photo of the back of our house after it was finished The attached doesn't give a very good idea. Finished it's stucco with a second-story deck that goes across the middle to the edges of the doors. The slope below us is higher than it looks; probably 30 feet sloping down to a green-space meadow. Our house looks very bare to us from the back. We have plants on the patio and the two upsloping sides, which are terraced, but you can't really see them, and the slope is too rocky to do much with,

We thought we'd put a tree on the right (as you look at the photo) upper flat area about even with the corner of the house, and a large bush on the other side, also on the flat part, that would grow to be under the upper window. Our lower story is a walkout basement.. We are at 6100 feet. I don't think we can do anything that will protect us from this wind. We're looking more for something that will just add a little variety and interest to the yard. The beautiful spruce and other tree in the photo belong to the neighbor, who is thinking of taking them down.

Thanks very much to you both for your help.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 5:21PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Thanks for the pic, it helps so much to visualize the space! Now that I see it, I think you want something more ornamental than Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) It's one tough tree, but they can get kind of ratty looking as they age. I like your original idea, Abies concolor for the space. There's a gorgeous variety called Candicans. If your neighbor doesn't cut those trees down for the next few years it may have enough protection to get established. It gets 15-20 feet wide, so make sure it has enough space from the house.

Abies lasiocarpa arizonica is similar, but a bit narrower and it's native range is higher, about 8,000 ft. It's being experimentally planted at lower elevations, too. Any color preference? I'm thinking you want to stick with a narrower grower for the tree, let me know if that's not the case. Here's a few others to consider: I'm listing both latin and common names for shopping ease, lol!

Picea englemanii - Englemann Spruce
Picea omorika - Serbian Spruce
Picea orientalis - Oriental Spruce
Pinus flexilis - Limber Pine
Pinus heldreichii (or leucodermis) Bosnian Pine

There are scads of cultivars you could choose for the shrub. How tall and wide for the shrub?

This is fun, thanks for letting us participate!

Barb

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 9:22PM
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robin44444

Thanks, Barb. I'm going to go out and measure in the morning to see how much space we actually have. And I've loved white firs for years, but DH is afraid the 76-mph winds will blow it over. I read the white firs have shallow roots. He'd also like to plant something that won't get 80 feet tall and some future owner will chop down!.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:36PM
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robin44444

No measuring here today. We have a snowstorm again. But DH says something that is about 10 H and 10' W would be good on the left side as you look at the house in the photo.. It will be planted 15 feet or so away from the house out on the "point" of the upper flat part, but from below it will put an interesting shape against the house, we hope. I think 8 feet H is fine; I don't want it to obstruct the view. On the right side the view is not so important, so a larger tree we think will work fine as long as it doesn't fall over onto the house!.

Thank you again, Barb. I really appreciate your help. Neither one of us is very good at visualizing the finished product.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 9:24PM
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