I am considering adding Cryptomeria Radicans, mixed with Little Gem Magnolias, as a screen in my yard this fall. This is a new evergreen for me. Any comments? Any problems with this plant (as with Leyland Cypresses)?
Have you considered 'Kay Parris' instead of 'Little Gem'? I'm not sure how the prices would compare or how many you are looking at using, but 'Kay Parris' is a superior cultivar that should outperform 'Little Gem'. 'Little Gem' was one of the earliest smaller Magnolia grandiflora cultivars, but other smaller cultivars are now available that don't look as lanky and tend to fall apart like 'Little Gem' does with age.
Cryptomeria japonica is, IMO, a better alternative to the Leyland cypress and should be less problematic. I am a huge fan of the look of Japanese Cedars. It is not however free from concerns. Dirr notes leaf blight, leaf spot, and tip and branch dieback as disease issues. Wouldn't it be nice if they invented pest and disease free trees?
I'm curious how you chose the 'Radicans' cultivar? And, I'm wondering if you've considered the size mismatch with the smaller magnolias. Are you wanting smaller trees, larger trees, or a mix?
When picking your cyryptomerias out, be sure to choose only single-leader stock. Also, smaller stock (1 to 5 gallon pots) are usually preferable and should catch up to larger specimens in just a few years.
Thanks for responding Brandon. The radican was suggested by a local nursery. I was not familiar with it before now. I think I have identified it at sites and really like the look of it. I do not want to get a plant that has the problems of the Leyland Cypress. I need a fast growing privacy screen running along the back of my odd shaped backyard. Its somewhere around 90' long, with varying depths, at one point it may be only 35' deep. I do not want a single plant all along the length. I thought I'd add in the Little Gems, as it is also one of my favorites, every so often in front of the Cryptonmeria. I do need some height, maybe 20-30', since a house in being built right behind us. This backyard will be a big focus for our entertaining and gardening, with a small vegetable garden, ornamental trees and shrubs,eventually a small pond and attracting birds. It is a project at its very beginning. And of course, I also need to be cost conscience! We are doing the work ourselves which is another reason to by smaller plants for smaller holes!
Your suggestions and observations are greatly appreciated.
Alright, I need clarification. When researching the radican online, the width varies from 10-12' to 20-25' wide. Which is it??? Also the only ones I found were $30.00/ 5 gal containers. Anyone know of any place offering them in smaller containers, less cost?
I wanted to restart this older thread since I have the same question previously posted by junebugtn, "When researching the radican online, the width varies from 10-12' to 20-25' wide. Which is it?"
Any speculation on why some Radican height-to-spread references show a round form while others show a more upright form?
On a related note, what minimum spacing would you recommend for good adult roots with a screening grouping of radicans? I've heard that one could use a 'Rule of 4s' that the center-to-center spacing should be at least 1/4 the mature height. I'm in East TN and they will have full sun.
This post was edited by ralph_d on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 7:51
"When researching the radican online, the width varies from 10-12' to 20-25' wide. Which is it?"
It's both, actually! The 10-12' width figure is pretty typical of the "mature" width. The 20-25' width is after many years. Conifers (and all trees, to some degree) don't stop growing until they go into decline and die. If it grows 6" on year 3, it will also grow about 6" in year 30 (assuming similar conditions during both years).
"Any speculation on why some Radican height-to-spread references show a round form while others show a more upright form?"
Could be a function of climate differences. Could be that the specimens used for reference were propagated from different parts of the tree (cuttings from the top of a tree may grow more upright than cuttings taken from lower, more horizontal branches).
"On a related note, what minimum spacing would you recommend for good adult roots with a screening grouping of radicans? I've heard that one could use a 'Rule of 4s' that the center-to-center spacing should be at least 1/4 the mature height."
That 'Rule of 4s' seems pretty arbitrary to me. Personally, I don't care for a single, tightly-spaced row of a single type of tree (at least for most applications), but I'd say a good minimum would be around 6' (again, somewhat arbitrary). The closer you plant them, the sooner they'll grow together as a continuous hedge. Do keep in mind that such a hedge does not usually look very natural, can be aesthetically ruined by the death of a single tree, and is more susceptible to pest and disease.
Thought I'd update. I did plant the Radicans and they are looking great and growing quickly. Very please with them.
Thanks for the response to my multi-question post. I have been thinking about spacing for a mixed screening that minimizes width of screen while maximizing aesthetics. I am just taking a planting break now. I went with 14' to 16' spacing btw trees in the first and 10' to 12' spacing between trees in the first row and the second, staggered row. I feel better knowing that the range I selected is not close to pushing tree health.