I'd really like to have a few of these fast growing trees. Would they survive in the SLC area?
Here is a link that might be useful: Italian Cypress
Someone near me is either growing these or something with a similar columnar shape. They're doing fine, but they wrap them with burlap in the winter to keep deer from eating them. Do you have deer in your area? If so, you may want to try something else, because these seem to be deer candy (if they're the same thing).
Well, I just did a little google search for columnar evergreens, and it may be Leyland Cypress that my neighbors have. They're hardy down to zone five. You might want to look at those, rather than the Italian ones, just to be safe. They're still deer candy, though!
Also, you're definitely not in zone five, unless you're way at the top of Traverse Ridge. You're a zone six for sure, and some parts of SL Valley are zone 7. You're probably a six on the verge of seven. I live in Cedar Hills (just east of Highland and American Fork), and I was wondering if we were really a zone 7 for a while, but then we've gone a little below zero a few times in recent years, which is a zone 6 range.
Anyway, if you like that columnar shape but decide against the cypress, there are other trees that would fit the bill. If you're OK with deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in winter), you can find columnar oaks and maples. I have some Swedish aspens that are tall and columnar, and they have grown quite fast and been very healthy. They do produce some suckers like other aspens, but in my opinion they're not nearly as bad as quaking aspens in that regard.
If you click to enlarge this photo, you'll see my Swedish aspens at the back corners of my arbor. There are four of them growing in pairs by the back corners.
I like those Swedish aspen. Do you know if they sucker like the rotten, stinking quakies I have all over the yard?
I know of people growing them up north but you'll need special siting and protection during the winter, unless you want them on your warm roof like Carrabas. If you have the time and patience, skyrocket juniper have a very columnar appearance like cypress but only put on about a foot a year and stop at around 15'. There's also blue arrow juniper. Google them both to see what you think.
The Swedes do sucker a bit, but in my opinion, it's much less than quakies. I actually have quakies, too, and I like them, but my quakies are planted above a low rock wall, and perhaps the rocks limit the spread of their roots. Some of their roots have made it to my lawn, but it's not too bad. Anyway, with these Swedish aspens, they have sent up some suckers, but I really think I only deal with chopping down maybe five of them a year. Not many. I like them. And in less than seven years, they've grown to probably 30+ feet tall.
Here's another photo of them in fall, from October of 2006 (they're even taller now):
But back to the cypress question -- wouldn't those Leyland Cypresses work well as a substitute for the Italian ones?
And hey, I always thought the trees at Carrabas were fake. Are they real up there on the roof?
I really do like those swedes, but if I were to venture I'd probably put some three foot barrier in the ground. My quakies have shoots at least twenty feet away from the stand and I'm very nervous about trying any other aspens without a barrier.
I have a small Leyland but I'm not sure if you'd have to trim them for the italian appearance. When I found my two skyrockets most websites said they were the closest thing at the time.
I actually think the Carraba plants are the real deal. They were very burned after winter 06/07 when we had that -2 low down in Utah Valley. Speaking of which, they say that "green" roofs are the thing nowadays, lots of buildings in Chicago etc. are sporting plants now. It supposedly tempers the inside of the building, winter and summer. I guess they had it right 2000 years ago.
Thanks for all the info! You guys are scaring me though. Did we make a mistake planting quakies along the fence? We just HAD to block the nosy neighbor kids!
stevation, thank you for clearing up my zone for me! It's so hard to read those little maps! I figured zone 5 to be on the safe side. We're in the flatlands of Draper.
Alan, I like the blue arrow juniper better than the skyrocket juniper. The skyrocket seems too pointy for me. The Leyland cypress looks too "pine tree-ish" for me.
I'm just looking for some texture and height for the back of our plain flat house. We have some flowering pear & cherry trees, honey locust and some oak & aspens around the yard but I wanted something maybe evergreen & tall thats a little differet and doesn't take up a lot of space. (And I LOVE Italy!) Can any of these be grown in BIG pots? So you think I'd be better off finding a different tree than the Italian cypress? Where is the best place to find these kinds of trees?
Thanks again for your expertise! I SO don't know what I'm doing! ;)
I'd say just go to a nearby nursery and talk to someone there about tall, narrow evergreen choices. Near you are Glover Nursery and Wasatch Shadows Nursery, both of which are good places to go. There are probably a half dozen other ones not far away, too.
You may end up regretting the aspens. Some people do, because the suckers can get overwhelming after a while, popping up in the lawn and flowerbeds. I like mine, but I described above how I have that rock wall as a bit of a barrier between them and the lawn. I also put down landscape fabric in the tree area and put a thick layer of compost on top of it for mulch. That has kept the suckers from coming up in that area.
Unless you have the time and devotion to protect a cypress each and every winter I would opt for the blue arrow. I saw a few last year at Sun River in Orem, but I must warn you they are very pricey.
Cook's in Orem has numerous skyrockets in stock, about $35 plus. Unless you can find an arrow locally you may need to order online. They'll be quite small though, as my skyrockets were.
On another note, I protect many odd plants and palms for the winter and can get most of it done in a day. I'm no cypress expert but it may only in tel wrapping with burlap in November to take the edge off and protect the winter strained foliage from losing moisture and burning and or drying out. You'll be very hard pressed to find an Italian cypress locally - so it would most likely be online or if you happen to be going to St. George you'd be able to buy a decent sized one at nearly any nursery.