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tree advice from experienced gardener

Posted by libraqueen81 5 (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 8:18

Hi! I'm a fairly novice gardener since 2011. Today my issue is conifers and placement.
I have one pic here, it is a side view of the front of my property. It is blazing full sun there, so the conifer will need to like the sun. It doesn't shade out until 2 feet past the last Magnolia. There are 2 large half moon retaining walls with a Magnolia in each in the center.

The issue is we are in a hill and the house is below the street and EVERYONE who walks my dead end stares into my home that I cannot open the drapes. I do wish for something else to place up there that gives a bit more privacy. Not a thick screen, but a little block of view, and of course something interesting with variety.

Last spring I bought 2 weeping norfolk-Picea abies 'Pendula'- and placed them a distance either side of the smaller Magnolia.

I know these guys get wider than taller, so my question is,

1. Would it be unwise or too much in one plot to add 2 more of them staggered and behind in a second row a bit farther back?

2. Should I be looking for a different conifer?

Any advice, like I said is much appreciated. Like I said I am fairly new, the only things I have kept alive are Lavender..tons and tons of lavender, and I have kept 6 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae -Thuja occidentalis- alive in the past 2 years. So fingers crossed I'm doing something right by all my reading up.

Thanks much!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

I wouldn't assume that they'll get wider than they do tall, as you can lead them in whatever direction you want with a bit of training. You might consider some bushy pines to fill in a bit of the space. Posting a picture of a big 'Reflexa' (true name of 'Pendula') so you can have an idea of what it can become.

 photo IMG_1675_zps017d63e4.jpg


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

Hmm pines, that would give a nice variety of textures. I think the Reflexa looks beautiful, but yes, that may look to silly in the plot I have chosen. Thank you!


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

libraqueen, as unprof. told you, you can train Picea abies 'Pendula' any way you want. You get an 8 feet tall green plastic covered metal stake from Home Depot / Lowes, and tie the main leader, or any soft branch that can be bent without breaking, to the stake using stretchy plant ties. You train it as high up as you want. When it gets longer than the stake, you can tie small stake to the top part of the tree which is still soft and needs training. Once tree hardens at the bottom, the bottom stake can be removed. This tree is fast growing and you can train it up and then allow it to go horizontal and act like a curtain. I have attached a Google image search result link so you can see the many forms this tree can take. Nice tree, but too many of the same will make it boring. Look at some nice spreading pines. Pinus parvifloras are beautiful. There are large Mugo pines, Umbrella pines. A blue spruce like 'Fat Albert' or southern magnolia like 'Little Gem' (if your hardiness zone allows) or even hollies can create some contrast with the other trees and make it interesting for you to look at.

Here is a link that might be useful: Many forms of Picea abies 'Pendula'


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

Yeah it would be boring with too many of the same tree in one spot. I was suddenly thinking of using a Mungo Pine because it is quite fluffy and would fill in a little bit of the space. I already have a Magnolia which is in the center, but will not get any more because they bloom for 2 weeks and that's it.
I was under the impression that the 'Pendula' grows slow. If not, then great for me! A 'Fat Albert' is a good idea too, with the blue contrast.


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

Thank you also for the link. The 'Pendulas' are so interesting and each one is so different from the other.


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

Picea abies 'Reflexa' aka Pendula common trade name in US
for the most part is very unstable particularly when young.

This one trained on the stake till I couldn't reach the main leader anymore off a 6 ft. ladder and then left to free range. at least 10 years ago. It continues to this day to grow straight on its own. About 20 years old.

 photo IMG_0831.jpg

This one on the stake up to about 4 ft. tall then left to free range. It wandered for awhile but now seems like it has stabilized to grow straight up. About 20 years also. I am now seeing 2 leaders growing and plan on removing one this spring.

 photo IMG_0833.jpg

A great cultivar that can be trained into anything you want it to be.

If you want some width and height you should stake them for height otherwise the one in your photo could be heading towards the street.


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RE: tree advice from experienced gardener

Ha Ha! Yeah don't want him in the street. I looked up about staking them to spread out width wise as well as height. I think the trees in your pictures seem similar to the with I was thinking of. I don't want something "formed" or "formal" as my home is a wooded lot.. so I would prefer something a little unruly and different.
The plot here is 30 feet in length.. if I measured correctly, I feel the trees and shrub are spaced enough to grow properly. So if I am understanding correctly, I could stake and train width wise to fill in that extra space a bit so it doesn't seem as vast empty space and I can get my privacy as well without getting more conifers or shrubs to fill the space?


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