Need recommendations for hearty, fast-growing trees..

mnottoAugust 27, 2008

Hi -- We live in central PA and have a small backyard with another house situated closely behind ours. We already have a six-foot privacy fence, but it just isn't doing the trick.

About four years ago, we planted five birch trees along the fenceline to help aid in our quest for more privacy. They have grown a lot, and we really hate to get rid of them, but they have never done well. Every year we have had issues with them. One is a river birch and the other four are Jacquemonti biches. We have had a tree doctor out to visit, have followed all of his suggestions (watering, fertilizing, systemic treatment, etc.), and still these trees suffer during the summer and lose their leaves early. We are done with them! We want to replant with something that is not so touchy.

Does anyone have recommendations for a fast-growing, hearty tree that will be well situaed to our climate? It should be something that can handle full sun. We are looking for something that does not get to be monstrous... no more than 30 feet in height.

Your recommendations are greatly appreciated!

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"hearty"??? Trees don't have hearts!

Maybe try one of the smaller oaks, such as Blackjack Oak Quercus marilandica. Or an American Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana. Both PA natives, so well suited to the climate.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:44PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Carpinus caroliniana, while one of my favorite trees, is an extremely broad tree, so it may be too broad for your needs. Why not look at Magnolia virginiana (flowers and fragrance too), redbud, Halesia (flowers, no fragrance).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:40AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

If you want evergreens, then there are a number, ranging from broadleaf to conifers. Arborvitae (Thuja) has several cultivars that might work, as would an Eastern red cedar (Juniperus) cultivar. Hollies, if the prickly leaves won't be a problem, are another possibility. Some of the viburnums may be semi-evergreen for you. Wax Myrtle might be another one to consider, although it does tend to sucker into thickets.

I would strongly suggest that you research FULLY the mature heights and widths of anything you are considering, as the hang-tags that nurseries/growers put on their stock, for whatever reason they have, lists the heights and widths at 10 years! Many species have smaller or narrower cultivars (while some don't) so you MAY be able to find one that you love but which in the original species is just too big....

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 1:40PM
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ncsteele(Zone 5 Iowa)

My first thought was a Shademaster Honeylocust, but it will get a bit bigger than 30 feet (nice dappled shade, though). Maybe an Amur Maple (invasive?), Japanese Maple or a serviceberry.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:57PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

Redbud is one of the smaller trees, as are some of the red maples. And many of the crab apple trees fit your criteria also. Many dont fruit.

I hope you vary your selections. Always makes for a healthier venue.

Like ncsteele, I love my honeylocust. ( I have skyline or something like that) It has grown quite tall, but remains a dainty and graceful specimin. Best of all, no leaves to rake, as they are small, and sort of melt into the grass.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 2:19PM
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How about a maple. Red Maples grow fairly quickly (3 feet per year) and reach about 30 to 40 feet depending on the type you get. They have nice red flowers in spring and have very nice red leaves in fall. They might be a little wider than you might like though.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 6:39PM
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