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Native Screen?

Posted by well_drained z6a MA (My Page) on
Tue, May 27, 08 at 14:24

We have a small-medium sized backyard with a 6-foot cedar fence enclosing it, two white oaks, a black locust, a Prunus serotina and a lot of native shrubs and herbaceous plants - mostly a woodland, but parts are sunny enough to be a savanna/woodland edge habitat. Very naturalistic look - like a walk through the woods on a winding wood chip path.

DS looks out the window and all she sees is the neighbor's above-ground pool on the other side of the fence - and it really bothers her a lot.

The question? DS wants me to plant a fast growing evergreen plant to screen out the pool. I've been looking at Thuja (arbor vitae) and Pinus strobus, although I can't recall ever seeing the native Thuja in local woodlands - white pine is everywhere, though.

The area where the screen planting would go does not have any trees nearby - the black locust (which I realize is not native to my area - that's another post) is about 30 feet away.

If I have to do a screen, I want it to be native and consistent with the look and plant community I've established. I'm just not sure what to do. Do any GW folks have any advice for me?

- wd

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Native Screen?

Maybe some american hollies. Look that one up. I think (but don't remember for sure) that american hollies can be sheared like a hedge. White Pines are great trees but eventually get very tall so keep that in mind if mature height is a problem.

Here is a link that might be useful: ENature list for MA

RE: Native Screen?

Red cedar is native to your area and similar in appearance to arbor vitae. Eastern Hemlock is another native evergreen. Instead of planting a single row of trees that won't look very natural, perhaps you can plant clumps or a broken row of trees that would still screen the view of the pool, but give a more natural appearance. Mixing a couple of species of evergreen might help make the screen look more natural. If you are trying mainly to block the view from one or two windows, perhaps you can palce a ew clumps of red cedar, hemlock, or white pine in strategic locations so that from the window they provide a solid screen, but from other angles they appear more randomly places, and thus more natural. in other words, move portions of the screen forward and others back to break up the straight line but give the same effect when viewed from the window.

RE: Native Screen?

Thanks for your suggestions. I really only have enough room for one tree in the area that would serve the screening purpose - it's a circle with a diameter of about 10-12 feet - anything wider than that will encroach on paths or bump into other plants (unless I limb it up so you can walk under it).

So I think I'm going to go with the Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) over the holly (not native to my part of Massachusetts, I was surprised to find out!), the hemlock (agelid fears), the white pine (too big), and the arborvitae (I've never seen it growing in the wild around here, whereas there's a cedar growing in a conservation area close to my house). I'm getting conflicting information about how fast the cedar grows and the mature spread. One consistent piece of advice is: plant in the fall. So I guess I'll have to wait a few months.

-- wd

RE: Native Screen?

I think the red cedar is a great choice that will blend in with that area. I'd like to suggest that you still consider planting 2 or 3 cedar together much closer than would be recommended. *Vary the heights* and make it look as though one has a double trunk and plant the other near by. My thought is to plant the tallest in the back and bring second (and third if you like) a bit FORWARD toward the house. Personally I think it will look more natural than just one.

II I <--poor visual, but I'm limited by my keyboard :)

Hope this helps,


RE: Native Screen?

David: Thanks - great idea.

- wd

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