driveway trees??

crazyoneAugust 26, 2009

we are building our new home in the center of an 80 acre hay field, the driveway will be curving from the highway to house for about 500 meters. I was wanting to line the driveway with hardy evergreens and deciduious trees. I am in zone 3, in AB Canada where we get chinooks- extreme temp changes.

i was thinking to line inside row on both sides of the lane with alternating white and blue spruce and the outer row with green ash and silver leaf willow

can anyone advise me as to this idea?

also a not that i can get these trees free but only as small trees. I can irrigate them or should I try and save $$ for 5 foot trees and go with one row only or 1 row on each side?

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Sounds like we have the same kind of 3, built in the middle of a field...we had no trees at all! We've planted 1600 samplings supplied to us from PFRA. The willows, poplars and green ash are growing great. Everything else is taking its time growing and looks like it will a long time before we see any real growth, like I might be in my rocking chair and watching the grand children running around (I'm 37). Personally I have no patience to wait to see progress so I bought alot of 6 ft ones at end of season last year.

Then this past spring, we ordered more PFRA trees but I found a hutterite colony, off Kijiji, that was selling 4-6 ft trees for $10-$18. They were bare root of course which meant getting them into the ground within a week of him dropping them off. We bought 300 trees from him and are so happy we spent the money for instant tree presense, although you really can't see much and we don't get any windbreak or shade yet. We bought silverleaf willow, poplar siouxland, maples, and 2 types of ash. Maybe you could locate someone like this?

As for your selection of trees, my preference would be too line them all up in their individual rows, spaced accordingly in the row and distance from each of the other rows correctly. Silverleaf willow is a dense low growing tree that will bush out 40 ft and 30ft high. I planted lots of these. As much as I don't like Spruce I really like the Colorado blue and think it has so much impact all lined in a row. I have been convinced by some posters to include them in our landscaping plan! I personally wouldn't mix the two though.

Are you familiar with PFRA? Are you familiar with planting for wind protection, drifting etc? I will take a photo of our treeline tomorrow and post it here. Do you have any photos of your driveway?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2009 at 10:43PM
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Oh please get me photos.. you are just like me

I have the PFRA order form and the AB nurseries but know i am going to be so impatient.

I called the tree warehouse here and they could sell me 6 ft trees for 187 plus 99 to plant.. YIKES not with my budget..

I totally need to find your hutterite type salesman.. and yes i should have been looking at the garden centers.. duh but now they are all sold out.. I did find a guy on kijiji with 6 ft white spruce for $60 planted but he thought i would need 350 for just one side of my driveway and when i added that up.. :-(

how big were the PRFA trees when they arrived?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 12:02AM
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Lining a long driveway in open country with trees does not seem like an aesthetic that I would enjoy. People line driveways to build a more distinct space, but in open country the effect is much more like a line cutting the world into two halves and rather than building a space in between, it seems that it would almost like one of those backyard built streams that flows down the ridge of a hill as far as comfort goes.

I'd be more inclined to group trees farther away from the drive to create a bigger space that the driveway comfortably drives through. Make the space worthy of the scale of its surroundings. Can you imagine two fences 4' apart in an open field with a walkway between them? ... not very inviting or comfortable.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 6:43AM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Is one of the reasons the trees are planted along the driveway to help stop blowing snow and drifing? Plant your trees where they will work as a windbreak and shade the home in summer but let the sun thru in winter.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 7:10AM
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Me again...yes, it sounds like we will be able to exchange some ideas, although I might be just a little further ahead. Have you started building? Do you have your driveway in place already? Have you filled out your PFRA form? Important to do it NOW so that you get the trees of your choice, otherwise they substitute. Just a word of advice if this is your first year with the PFRA...don't get 1600 like we did the first year. It is merely impossible to plant that many without a tree planter. Most of them are sticks (literally) and are only 1 foot tall. The willows were a 6" stick that you stick in the ground and don't actually see until they start growing.

Anyway, here are the photos of the trees lining our driveway. I like a straight line, but with a few curves in it. They don't look like much but these are the ones I bought this spring and have already grown a 1.5 feet if not more. We have 5 more rows behind that of PFRA trees.

Siouxland Poplar (no fluff):

closer view:

Laurel Leaf willow (first row planted this spring, pd 3.99/tree and grew 1' already, back row 6' last year pd 39.99) The first row is much healthier and will probably pass the taller row in growing:

from other side: laurel leaf willow, row on right is silverleaf willow (1 year growth, these were literally a stick stuck below surface and grew that much in 1 year):

Maples bought from my little salesman this spring ($10-18) (trees in far background are along the ditch):

My orchard with apple and plum trees, 1 still waiting to be planted:

I should mention that I have planted ALL the trees myself, which was back breaking and exhausting, but I did it and I'm so happy with the results. Preparation and putting the right stuff in each hole is so important.

I have to disagree with a previous poster who thought lining the driveway was a bad choice. I love that feeling I get when I drive beneath a canopy of trees into someone's beautiful country yard. I would have loved the trees closer but my husband refused to have them as close as I would have liked because snow drifts and he is the one that has to clear it.

Please post photos of your yard, even if it is at the very early stages. It was a very exciting process when it all started...

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 9:18AM
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thank you for sharing, that is inspiring to see the growth of the little trees.
I too disagree with the lined curved driveway being unappealing.. how can you not love this look, a curving driveway which entices you to follow to reach the house

Here is a link that might be useful: tree lined

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:32PM
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I think I envisioned sort of the same thing that laag did, and it wouldn't be pretty.

At first, I thought of a stark, bare, northern prairie landscape. Essentially nothing on the horizon. Long sweeping expanse of flat land. And then... a lone driveway that's crowded in on both sides by the only trees in sight, all in a row like soldiers.

I'm all for tree-lined driveways; they can be gorgeous. But I have to admit, my first mental image was of two tight rows of trees hugging the driveway, and *nothing* that ties in the rest of the property to the entry.

As you're working to achieve the effect of an enticing tree-lined lane, I hope you're able to make it part of a larger overall planting plan that makes the most of your entire property, and not focusing too tightly on just the "tunnel."

How to do that, specifically? Umm... can you tell I've always lived in a city, and haven't gardened in the wide-open spaces? :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 5:49PM
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i can understand the extreme vision you may have had but no I want it to be a pleasing vision, I want it to seem like an adventure down the one day majestic tree lined drive, I plan to intersperse groves of trees but realize this will all take time to grow if i go with the affordable seedling route.

I will take photos and love all ideas and suggestions you may have.

currently it is 80 acres of alfalfa hay but one 1/2 mile side is a u pick orchard/winery and the 1/4 mile road side has 5 rows of mature trees (2 choke cherry rows, caragana and then 25 foot spruce trees) so the entrance is very tree oriented and welcoming, I want the flow to continue across the field to the house area (not yet built) which will have many trees planted as well as shelterbelt rows planted on the north and east sides as the west looks to the Rocky mountains.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2009 at 6:13PM
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Talk to some of your neighbors about lining a driveway with trees. I'm from So. Dak. & most of farm houses had trees on 3 sides behind the house,& quite a distance out on all sides from the house, not much in front where the long drive was. I think it had to do with drifting snow or maybe cleanup after heavy winds. If you don't know your neighbors drive around & see where they put their trees. If you can find someone with trees up their drive ask if they like it as you are wanting to do it also. You have a great start, looks lot like my BIL's in S.D. Their's are large now, only couple of evergreens in front yard & a specimen tree with island of flowers & couple of shrubs up by house. no trees by driveway.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 1:27AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Or maybe so that you can see when visitors are driving up the drive, no surprises. Or so there are no constraints on the size of vehicle that can drive up.

The image Laag describes was also what first occurred to me. But I think if the trees are spaced out far enough from the drive, not crowding the mirrors of your car, and there are lots of trees around, then I could see it working.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 6:46PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I think whether a long tree-lined driveway appeals (whether in open country or not...) may be one of those things that depends on what you're used to. I grew up on a property where the road to the house (public road, not driveway) was lined on both sides with big old spruce and fir trees (which had a tendency to come down across the road in winter storms - but that's another story...:-) On either side were open fields - not as big an expanse as open prairie, true... The line of trees signalled the approaching shelter of home. So if the line of trees cuts the space into discrete parts, it may be a division between the protected space of home and 'the rest of the world', which can be a comforting thing. As Karin notes though, the lines of trees need to be spaced wide enough apart to make a wide driveway so all vehicles can have easy access. Using the width of a road might be a good guide.

As for laag's discomfort with the vision of a path between two fences in an open area.... That was also a common - and pleasant and comfortable - thing I grew up with. Mind you, the 'path' was wide enough for a tractor and wagon, but wide paths between fenced fields were a part of the practical farm layout. Over time, the fences had acquired companion shrubs, small trees and vines (many of them fruiting) so it was attractive and provided food and shelter for people, farm animals, and wildlife.

So I'd encourage the OP to look around the neighbouring lands and see what is common there/what the local rural plantings around the home are, see what appeals, and use that as a starting point for planning.

There's lots of good info from the Alberta Ministy of Agriculture on shelterbelt planting and that would be a good place to start re what trees etc. are best able to cope with things like chinooks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shelterbelts for alberta

    Bookmark   August 29, 2009 at 7:59PM
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