Planting for Privacy Screening

What would be a good fast-growing tree or shrub to use for privacy screening. An evergreen for year-round screening would be preferable.
Thanks, SW
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What are you doing that you need privacy?
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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The most common plant for this purpose in zone 5 is arborvitae. (Thuja sp) If the soil is right for them, some people also plant hedges of tightly growing trees, such as blue spruce, which usually keep branches down to the ground - they can be sheared to keep them low and thickly growing. I think it might also be possible to plant hedges of juniper virginiana, a native tree juniper of the east and midwest. These can also be sheared to be lower than their normal height of 20 feet plus.


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Thanks. I'm new to gardening/landscaping and this put me on the right track. Here's one of the many links I found.
http://www.djroger.com/green_giant_arborvitae.htm
SW
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Another question. I just bought this house in September and the previous owner planted six pear trees where I want to put the Arborvitae. I believe they are dwarf varieties and while they are small at the moment, a couple were bearing fruit last year. Would the pear trees survive being moved, and when would be a good time to move them? Would winter when they are dormant be the best time? It's mild now with high temperatures in the 40s and 50s. If the ground freezes around here it usually does not stay frozen for long.
Thanks, SW
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SW, This is still a good time of year to move the pears. It is not so much whether the ground is frozen or not that deterimes winter to be best time to plant.move trees, but the fact that there will be both a reduced workload on the root system ( no leaves to feed) and consistant moisture in the ground ( no as much worry about constant watering).
So far as good screening shrubs, there are literally dozens to choose from, including the ones that Presly mentioned.
Arborvitae are wonderful, but since they are a tall NARROW shape, you will need more to cover the same amount of fenceline. Spruces (Picea) are good .. they cover more fenceline BUT they will take longer to fill in. I have seen White Pine used for very long hedges, but they get HUGE ( as well as do the spruces).
There are many Hollies that will do well... i.e. Illex Merservae ( i know.. poor spelling) Var. "Dragon Lady" can grow to 20 ft tall x 8-10 feet wide and has these really SHARP needles on the leaves to deter trespassers.
With all these choices, you have to ask yourself these questions:
How FAST do you want the screening effect? How BIG do you want the screen to ultimately get? How much are you willing to SPEND? How much TIME are you willing to invest in maintaining the screen?
Think about those questions and We in the group will be better able to make more accurate suggestions.
Anthony B. Zone 6 Ky. Certified Nurseryman Ky. Nursery Landscapers Association
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On one side of the yard in particular, fast growth is the most important consideration. My side yard slopes away from the house, so a taller fence is not an option at the bottom of the slope. An ultimate height of 30 feet or more would be ideal.
This is an interesting link. If you scroll down, you'll see pictures of Green Giant Arborvitae when they were planted at a height of 7 feet, and 2.5 years later when they were 12 to 13 feet.
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/neweng/msg071458162113.html
Is 7 feet a reasonable height for Green Giant Arborvitae at most nurseries, and how expensive are they? Could they be planted now, or will I need to wait until after the danger of frost? I've read that they are relatively maintenance-free, and I find that appealing, as I won't have a lot of time to invest in pruning them.
I did a search on Dragon Lady holly and it looks like a possibility for other parts of the yard. How fast does it grow?
I don't know how much to budget because I don't have any experience in this area. I suppose the first step is to determine how many plants I'll need, and I'm still working on that.
Thanks for the information on moving the pear trees.
Thanks, SW
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Summer Wind, A few answers to a few questions:

Most Arborvitaes that I have handled in the past will typically be most widely available as 8' shrubs. You can expect to pay between $100-130 a plant.
If you can find a nursery still open this time of year, go ahead and plant. Otherwise, wait till spring. In either case, watering properly will still be an issue come summer. Green Giante Arborvitae will reach a height of 40-60 ft with a spread of 12-18 feet

Dragon Lady will get about 12-15 feet tall and 8 feet across... It can grow 2-3 feet a year once established ( most shrubs take about 3 years to become fully established).
Most common size available is a 15 gallon potsize at a height of about 5-6 feet and about $120 a plant.

Determining the number of plants for a privacy screen or hedge is simple. Measure the length of the line to be screened then divide by HALF the expected mature spread of the shrub. Ex. say You go with the Giant Arbor with an average mature spread of 16 feet.. 24(length of line) / 8 (half of 16)= 3 plants planted on 8 ft centers ( trunk to trunk distance)
The reason you go 1/2 the spread is so that the screen will look like one nice solid mass when mature and not like just a row of shrubs.

You are much welcome SW

Anthony B.
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Thanks for the very useful information. I tried calling local nurseries and they are all closed for the holiday. What do you think of mail order nurseries like this one?
http://www.botanystore.com/page/page/2353857.htm
The prices are certainly right.
SW
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Summer,
There is nothing at all WRONG about buying mailorder for certain plant items like perennials or tropicals, however, there are a few things to bear in mind shopping mailorder:
1) Size of plants... In order for the shrubs to be shipped at a reasonable cost, you will seldom find anything larger than maybe 4 ft tall. This would mean you would have to wait between 3-5 ears for your screen to fill in
2) Condition of plant matierial.... With Nursery bought shrubs, every step of the shipping process is moniterd and desighned to get the product to the retailer in best possible condition. with mail order, this is not possible. The mail order house will do evrything they can before the plants leave thier nursery, but once it gets put on the postal truck . . . .
3) Shipping costs....Bottany store is rare , it's shipping isn't high at all in your area, but most other mailorder nurseries do have occasionall steep shipping charges.
All this said, I think you found a pretty good solution for your privacy screen and a good source for the green giants. Go for it.
I am assuming the smaller sizes will come bare-root... That will take slightly more advanced gardening skills but I think you can handle it. I would go with the 3 gallon shrub myself. they will have a better developed root system and won't require the extra attention to avoid the roots drying out during the planting process.
You seem to have things in control.. It is rare that folks will actually ask advice and do research before executing a project like this. Seems like you are on your way to becoming a gardening addict ;)
If you have any other questions, post away!!
Anthony B.
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Thanks. I really have garden fever. My new house is less than two years old, but the previous owner did quite a bit of yard work in the short time he was here. There is still a lot to do, however. He put retaining wall flower beds around the house, so I will need many bedding plants for this Spring and I'm going to grow my own from seed. I have some seed left over from my old place and I also bought some this weekend. Here's the list so far.
Perennials
Lavender Shasta Daisy Primrose Spearmint Phlox Coreopsis Columbine (Burpee Harlequin Mix) Poppy
Annuals
Marigold (Burpee American Giants Mix) Marigold (Ferry Morse Crackerjack Mix Colors) Cosmos Zinnia Impatiens (Burpee Butterfly Hybrid Mix) Impatiens (Burpee Flavors Hybrid - Blueberry)
Vegetables
Tomato (Burpee Super Sweet 100 Hybrid Cherry) Bush Beans Peppers (Burpee Carnival Mix) Lettuce (Black-Seeded Simpson) Lettuce (Ferry Morse Ruby Ruffles) Swiss Chard Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Carrot (Nantes Coreless) Onion (Burpee Evergreen Long White Bunching)
Any suggestions for shade-loving annuals, other than impatiens, would be appreciated. I have a lot of seed starting to do, but it should be fun.
Thanks again, SW
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Summer Wind wrote: Here's the list so

Keep that Spearmint well contained or you'll have no room for anything else in a short time. It sends runners several inches below ground that can pop up many feet away. It is probably impossible to remove by pulling once established.
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No probably to it, it IS impossible to remove by hand pulling. voiice of experience for I had made the mistake of planting it direvt into a border dn I have to go out weekly to yank out the excess.
Planting spearmint in a large pot in the ground works pretty well. And out of the ground for that matter.
others may disagree, Anthony B.
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I have had no luck with spearmint in a pot. Our old house had spearmint, and I am familiar with its invasive nature. At our old place, I'd rip out every last bit of spearmint in the fall, and we'd have as much spearmint as I'd ever want the next spring. I still really liked having spearmint nonetheless, and use it for cooking.
I've planted spearmint now in a spot where the soil is very poor, and it is surrounded by concrete on three sides. Nothing wants to grow there, except a very ugly juniper I'd probably rip out if it wasn't the only green thing that has survived on that plot. I've worked in compost every year and even so, there's very little that seems to want to be there long term. This year I stuck spearmint on it, on the theory that it would be more or less contained by the concrete, and nothing else is growing there, anyway.
--
Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
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