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Advice on tree selection

Posted by osubeaver 8 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 17:47

We live in an area of SW Washington that receives a lot of wind in the winter. Out lot has a hill that we have planted heavily through the years. The last tier under the back fence is the last remaining item that needs attention. Any suggestions for something that provides privacy from the home above ours? To add to the dilema, per our HOA's the size of any planting needs to stay under the height of the house (shown in first photo). Suggestions?


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RE: Advice on tree selection

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 9, 13 at 21:55

Amur maple.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

Maple is deciduous, if you're after privacy I would certainly think evergreen. How about some Golden Spire Thuja? Supposed to max out about 15' tall. I just planted a couple of these and they are supposed to hold their beautiful gold color through winter.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

Thank you! The Golden Spire Thuja sounds like it may be a good solution...Amur maples may work in the front, as it looks like a nice tree as well. Appreciate the suggestions!


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RE: Advice on tree selection

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 16:55

The conifer will of course not grow 15' tall and then stop growing. That's why you don't want to use pointed trees where there is a height limit, if they start to exceed it then you have to spoil their shape in order to keep them down.

Unless you plant them close together, as a sheared hedge with the outlines of no individual specimens showing. Even then if you fall behind on the shearing and cut the top back too far at one time you can end up with ugliness.

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 16:59


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RE: Advice on tree selection

for an evergreen "tree" at 15 feet, you might consider a broadleaf evergreen shrub.

probably something locally available at a tree like size to speed up the process.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

I'm not sure how much privacy you're going to get from the house above you if you can't plant anything that exceeds the height of your house.

That said, a hedge of Myrica california (California Wax-myrtle) may work well. They're native, can withstand seaside conditions (wind and salt), evergreen, and grow quickly (to 15 or 20'), but can be held much lower. I had a couple in my backyard that were 10+ years old and were held to 5' with twice-a-year shearing.

This post was edited by OregonGrape on Wed, Jul 10, 13 at 23:48


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RE: Advice on tree selection

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 11:57

That one is sheared into tight balls at the Lynnwood, WA CostCo and seems to do fine with such treatment. Probably has to do with it being native to the outer coast, where perhaps salt winds sometimes burn back the tips.

Or maybe it is a response to browsing, although I don't remember seeing it eaten.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

How about mixing in some of the old fashioned tall Rhododendrons?
(Ponticum? -- other folks can chime in with specific species/ cultivars)
Planting some near the fence and some closer to the bottom of the planting area near the rocks and then eventually arborized so you can see through the trunks into your other plantings among them.
Planting closer to your house will provide more privacy sooner.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 12, 13 at 11:40

Those could require decades to produce the desired effect, and you don't want to plant large-leaved shrubs at the back of a planting as it makes it look shallower, and they also draw attention from less bold subjects in front of them.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

If only one could purchase a shrub that was not hacked back into a puffball.
Pieris, Rhody, etc. --just try to find one with a leader.............


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RE: Advice on tree selection

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 13:24

Natural shape Rhododendron arboreum are stocked by local independent outlets. Normal habit specimens of other tall kinds are sold also, but this one is the most tree-like.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

craigslist is a good place to stalk for large specimens. i do agree that you may get a shortening effect having a large leaved, large plant at the back, but you could contrast color to mitigate that.

i planted a trochodendron for privacy between me and my neighbor. i got a decent sized 2 gallon potted plant. its grown about a foot and a half in 3-4 years. will be another 5-10 years before it serves its function. i hope the payoff is worth it.

OH, try craigslist in the fall. might be able to transplant something from someone's garden.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

Thank you for all of the good suggestions! Will update when we reach a decision.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

Thank you for all of the good suggestions! Will update when we reach a decision.


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RE: Advice on tree selection

If it's not too late...another choice is the strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, 'Compacta' or similar. You could establish a beautiful hedge that should max out at a height of 10 to 15 ft and you can control the spread to some degree. A tag says "Reaches 6 to 8 ft. tall, 5 to 6 ft. wide in ten years; slightly larger with age" but my Compacta exceeded those dimensions in 7 years. Attributes that make it desirable: it can be trimmed down to keep it compact, pruned it into a multi-trunked tree to enjoy the bark and increase air movement, or left to grow on its own. It's evergreen, with lovely white flowers and red fruits year-round. It's also heat, drought, and wind adaptable once established. It grows fast and can take full sun. The red berries would complement the red and orange colors along your beautifully landscaped slope.


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