Privacy trees (arborvitae) suggestions?

eoren1May 5, 2014

I have about 60 feet of our backyard where I would like to plant trees to serve as a privacy shield. There are electrical wires that run there so max height would be about 15 feet and I don't want to lose more than 4 feet of yard (fence to lawn).
The area gets good sun at least 6 hours from front of trees and another 3-4 hours behind above fence line.

I started to research the various arborvitaes but quickly became overwhelmed.

Any thoughts on the best ones for this situation?
Suggestions on height to start and how to choose a tree - read something on getting a Single leader'?
Can the trees be cut across the top at some point to limit further growth?
Do they need to be wrapped in Winter?



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Emerald Green Arborvitae seem like the most common mainstream product for your type situation.

Be mindful there are options, like Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae, in case you like yellow golden blaze on your green.

Smaller trees will establish faster. You probably don't want to buy at a store parking lot where they sit in little black plastic pots baking in the sun, during the heat of summer.

Single leader is often recommended because non-single leader Emerald Greens can splay out under snow loads, and may not fully recover their original shape.

If you plan arborvitae, read up online on an awful little creature called a bag worm, because they can creep up on you and a horde can do a great deal of destruction to a stand of arborvitae really fast. Some damaged a Colorado Blue Spruce bush form of mine last year, so it's not just arborvitae. Bayer Advanced can be your friend. It's easier to kill these things before they get big, I'm told.

Emerald Greens aren't the most drought tolerant things while getting established; if your summers get hot & dry, expect to do some watering.

Some people like the look of a one species/one cultivar row of trees. Some people like variety and the reduced likelihood of a one pest wipe out that comes with a mix. Some other modest size conifers include Boulevard False Cypress (not the topiary 'poodle cut' versions) and some dwarf cultivars of Colorado Blue Spruce, like 'Baby Blue Eyes' (which I think is different from Baby Blue). See if they are thought to do well in your area. Some holly trees might provide variety; holly comes in male and female forms, and only the females make the berries, and need a pollinating male in the area to do it.

While there's no guarantee a tree will stop growing at a particular height (in fact, it likely won't), this might be useful info.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:57PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

"I don't want to lose more than 4 feet of yard (fence to lawn). "

That is going to limit you to some more narrow cultivars. Even then, it could turn into a plant then remove when they grow into the power lines.

Would some redbuds and viburnum work? They hardy in your area?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:21AM
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Thank you Richard and Toronado,

Really appreciate the replies.

Turns out my across the street neighbor has arborvitae nigra which seem to be doing well and don't eat up too much width. I was trying to come up with alternatives and found all too many (techny, brandon, green giant), hence the post.

I may just go with the same as him given the solid track record thus far.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:19AM
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