privacy shrubs for open meadow?

sleevendogMay 12, 2014

We have a 3 season farm, zone 5a, in the mountains. Just wood stove cabin/barn. Garden has been in for 15yrs now, completely private by the nature of the rolling landscape.

Closed and put to bed last November...
A month ago opened up and tapped our maples trees.
Very harsh winter and somehow the neighbors managed to build a home. (we are happy for them as the process was a long one needing to keep the original footprint of their they went UP)

After years of privacy, i can now see their upper window at almost every spot where i garden...and have an outdoor shower fed by a natural stream, gravity fed, heated by a coiled water line on a rock ledge....and a hammock under an elder plum...not a nudist, : ) ,but it has been a nice calm therapy place for years.
(nude for the time it takes to shower and dry off casually)

Fortunately, a dozen yrs ago, i did join the coop extension native plant ordering and planted a hundred various 'twigs' that gave a good wind break and some are now 6-15 ft and strong. Did get about 70% with a spade wiggle, poke and stomp, then ignored. We get good consistent rain weekly.

I put down some prep black tarps in the sight line to kill back some of the field wild need some full sun ideas for plantings. I'm soaking some red twig cuttings from the mama 'twig' that is now enormous. (a no brainer as that thing is hard to kill) But might work a bit. But not evergreen.

I'm sure when the field of wild grain, wild flowers, milkweed, etc comes up it will be private again...but this past weekend, with 75 temps and still barely any leaves, we felt exposed.

Just looking for suggestions. About a 5-10x20ft area should cover it.
The link is what i plan to do with the red twig osier as the landscape is similar. The offending window is about a football field away.

Here is a link that might be useful: transplanting red osier

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Answering my own post and researching, (and to boot myself off the top),
I've gone back through archives and finding lots of help. Full sun, dense shade, etc.
Also finding old photos and identifying some missing links i've been curious about.

I have some options by taking some cuttings or spreading growth of an enormous forsythia, and some left-gone-wild lilacs. I also have a few loved vibernum i may try and get some cuttings from. ...and grow some patience.

I also successfully identified a mystery spreading shrub. Aralia spinosa. "This species is sometimes called Hercules' Club, Prickly Ash, or Prickly Elder"...or toothache tree.
It is about 25' by 200' right now. Only a problem where we try and keep a wandering path cleared.

Soon i will have some existing natural green and slowly add to the area where i need the fall and early spring privacy. A pic from last sept...the landscape is so naked now, i tend to forget how quickly our land in a four season climate comes alive.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:41AM
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I think the mystery shrub you are thinking of is Zanthoxylum americanum....also known as Hercules' Club, Prickly Ash, or Prickly Elder.

You need a natural shrub border/hedgerow of a mixture of species so the loss of one due to disease, insects, or other scourge doesn't open things up again. Viburnums, grey & red osier dogwoods, non-native common lilac, hawthorn, prickly ash, elderberry, serviceberry, etc.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:55PM
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That makes more sense, Xanthoxylum americanum. In clonal growth like the red-osier dogwood and the sumac. (don't want the sumac) ...i've let a bit run rampant way down the hill.

Aralia spinosa has a similar description.

Here is a link that might be useful: aralia spinosa

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 3:34PM
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Knowing your soil pH may help with suggestions that will be happy in your area. Might you ask on the conifer forum about evergreens? Around me, white pines grow quickly and are early succession plants, happy in full sun. They have a light feathery texture, and will ultimately get quite large. There also may be some spruces or firs that would offer you all season privacy and might stay in the right size range for a longer period of time than the white pine. If you are in an area without hemlock woolly adelgid, hemlocks grow quickly and at least here they are happy in either sun or shade.

Or have you considered broadleaved evergreens if you have acid soil? Some of the larger old-fashioned types of Rhododendrons such as Roseum elegans can get to 20 or 25' tall and though the leaves roll up in winter, they will be fully spread when the weather is warm enough for you to be in a three season home.

There is a huge range of Viburnums. Many will do well in zone 5-6, many are native, and most have attractive blooms and fall color. In zone 6 there may be a few that are semi-evergreen.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 9:22PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I did ok last weekend. I had layered some red twig last summer that were meant for another spot and rooted very well. I used some of those and did a few dozen cuttings...the stake and plop, walk away method. (i'm patient)

Very busy with other beds, many projects, as ownership and limited time stirs up.
I don't have a budget issue but like to use natives and a more natural setting is what we have always leaned towards.

In the pic it is not the elder barn or baby barn...but just near the viburnum on the right is the new build. Seems hidden but to the naked eye, on location, it is like a peeping tom. (we like them fine as neighbors. Just had privacy for 20 yrs)-they are not outdoors types...i see a desk and binoculars, : ) Just kidding. I don't even mind if they run across this post somehow.

We did have a devastating 2006 infesting year that did lots of damage to viburnums and a few others. I'll look into some hearty low evergreens.
The red twigs will help...grow like weeds here. Just want a natural low screen.
DH insisted on the two arborvitae and wants more...
Not my choice but a mix seems the best overall outcome.

This post was edited by sleevendog on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 10:39

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:05PM
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