Jane magnolia v. Summer Tyme crabapple for tree hedge

jillyluis(6A)April 14, 2014

I'm looking to plant a tree hedge along the side of our house to block out some of the view of the cars going by (I've given up on evergreen for complicated reasons).
I'd like the usual: multiseason interest, low maintenance, resistant to disease, nice foliage. These are close to the only trees I have room for, so I really want great trees.
What do you think about these two (Jane, SummerTyme or small magnolias v. crab apples in general) as possibilities?

I have a tiny yard so I"d like to plant things under or next to the trees (hence I'm leaning away from privet, hollies etc).

Some specs: Trees will be along side 2.25 foot high stone wall
The bed itself is 4 feet wide. the row will be about 25 feet long, so I'm thinking 4 (range 3-5 depending on which culitivar I finally end up getting.
Our property excluding the driveway on the other side is about 50 foot wide (the street frontage, which is perpendicular to the area I will be planting).
The soil is very compacted due to construction
Both our neighbors have planted arborvitae on both sides of our house, so i don't want to add to that.
Mostly sunny, though there is some shade on the end.
We live on a busy street, so pollution tolerance is important. Salt tolerance not important as its on the house side of the rock wall. I can try and add a picture if that would be helpful

Thank you very much!
I really appreciate any thoughts, I've been wrestling with what to plant there for over a year.

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Kousa dogwood is also on the shortlist, but may end up too big, and tree lilacs are on the list as well, but end up too wide for their height (for my purposes) sometimes. Any thoughts on these two would be helpful as well!
Thanks again

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:13PM
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Oops, I meant Sugar Tyme

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 11:18PM
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Compacted soil will make things difficult for anything planted in this area, but will be especially hard for any sort of magnolia. Crapapples, even the "resistant" ones, are very disease prone and usually wind up looking pretty ratty by August. Improving the soil would be a major project, but planting anything in very compacted soil - which was probably not great even before construction equipment did further damage - would probably be a waste of time, effort and money.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:47AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

If you're trying to block the view of cars, I'd go for large shrubs, not trees. Think about viburnums, Abelia mosanensis, a lilac, etc.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 6:35AM
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ttonk(OH 6A)

Jane magnolia's fall color is not too impressive.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:42AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

z 6A tells us nothing...

where are you ... adn whats your base soil type, regardless of compaction ... is it clay???

you said: I've given up on evergreen for complicated reasons

==>> i dont know what this means... but if you cant grow those.. i dont understand why switching plants will bring you any other success ... if you are talking conifers.. well.. they are trees.. and if you are looking to shrubs.. their growing culture is as trees.. so now trying to grow flowering shrubs .. means you are still in the same boat ..

see link for planting guide.. i think this is where you need to start ... as in planting being the absolute most important thing to address.. regardless of a nice list of plants ... or you will just be on a failure curve again ...

i also wonder about your pollution claim ... all plants favor CO2 ... to think your area is so polluted that it is a vast barren landscape ... doenst jive .. especially since you say the neighbors have thriving arbs ....

one of the best ways to get stuff that grows in any given location.. is for you to snap some pix.. and ask us to ID them ... i have stolen more ideas from neighbors.. than i ever learned in a book.. lol .. and i didnt have the WWW nor GW to ID them.. back in the day ...

and finally.. i am an eyeball guy.. i cant conceptualize your space w/o a few pix ... i think you will get much better suggestions.. for a solution to your problem if you could post a few ..

good luck


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Thanks for everyone's thoughts so far. You may be right. Now I am thinking maybe I should wait another year add some buckwheat and topdress with compost. Just waiting another year will be very disppointing (not as disappointing as having a bunch of trees die)
To answer Ken's questions:
The soil used to be pretty good before the wall went in. Not clay like I grew up with in the midwest. I'm currently in northern Massachusetts. When they put the wall in, they excavated a trench, filled it with gravel and then put the stone wall on top. The dirt is compacted from the machinery and big men in big boots with big rocks, and it has a ton a gravel mixed in it now. It is pretty hard. I took a pick ax to it last year to get a few plants in.
As far as evergreens go, its' not a problem with evergreens growing, it's a design problem. My neighbors on all sides love them, so I'm nearly boxed in by them. Don't get me wrong, I like an evergreen just as much as the next person, just a row of arborvitae on 2 sides, and a row of hemlocks on a 3rd side makes me yearn for some seasonality to my plot. The giving up part also references the envy i had for a beautiful mixed border down the road with a variety of everygreens with few other trees mixed in. I love it so, but its 10-20 feet deep, so I've had to give up on that look, even though I love it.

I'm not sure I can post a picture just now. Despite 3 trips to the so-to-speak genius bar, our iphoto isn't working, but I will look into it some more (maybe upload directly to a third party site or something).
That is a very nice link you sent, I will hang on to it.
I bring up pollution only because tree lilacs were something i considered and a lot of places it says they tolerate pollution well.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:56PM
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