What tree/hedge is this and how tall can it grow

tjain_seattleSeptember 7, 2013

We have a problem with our neighbors yard. I wont go into details but basically we need to cover our view from the second floor of the house. The first floor view is covered by our fence and bushes growing on those

We think long evergreen hedges are the way to go. We need tall trees about 30-40 feet and we need them fast :)

We currently have a set of hedges by our fence, but they are only a few feet tall, probably because our gardener trims them (and we have just moved into the house). I would like to know, if these hedges will go to the heights we are looking for if we stop trimming these OR do we have to grow new ones. If we have to grow new ones, what are our best options. As I said we need it fast :)

Thanks

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

"We currently have a set of hedges by our fence, but they are only a few feet tall...I would like to know, if these hedges will go to the heights we are looking for if we stop trimming these."

You forgot to tell us what your "hedges" were!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:08PM
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tjain_seattle

Oops...Forgot to upload the photos

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:25PM
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tjain_seattle

and more...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:46PM
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tjain_seattle

and some foliage pic...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:49PM
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corkball(4)

Looks like some sort of Thuja. There are small varieties in the east and nurseries, but it could be western red cedar where you are and those get BIG.
Most thuja will get as big as you want, but at least around here in the midwest they are not fast growers. Maybe in Seattle they grow like weeds.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:04PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'. Yes they are being sheared across the top, will grow much taller if this is discontinued. However, if you want them 4 times as tall as they are now you will be waiting many years for them to get to that point. To replace them with a taller, faster type you will have the bother and expense of taking these out and then buying and planting the new ones. The obvious popular choice is Leyland cypress but this will overwhelm the space unless kept sheared - are you going to shear a 40' tall hedge? And even with a large- and fast-growing tree like this you are going to have to wait years for a new planting to grow as tall as you want. If you must have a 40' instant hedge the only thing I can think of is a tall species of Phyllostachys bamboo such as P. nigra 'Henon' restrained by bamboo root barrier and kept stimulated by indulgent watering and fertilizing, so that is shoots right up to the desired height as soon as possible - well-grown bamboo triples the size of individual stems every year, until the full size is reached.

In addition to needing to keep it contained when you plant running bamboo you also have to be willing to put up with (or control) bamboo mites, should your planting become infested - as many here are. The main visible problem with these infestations is the leaves display yellowish blotches and sections.

Bamboo also drops dead leaves and other spent parts during the summer, as many broad-leaved evergreens do. When you have evergreen plants (including conifers) on your place there tends to be a buildup of litter beneath them, unless they are cleaned up after frequently - it is not the same as deciduous trees where there is usually one big dumping of leaves all at once in fall, and then that is it until next year (except for those that also drop spent flower parts or fruits at other times).

Speaking of deciduous trees, that may be another option for you - bringing in some larger-sized specimens of deciduous trees and planting them to form a screen above the existing hedge, for more immediate height as well as significant height later. It is possible that the lack of foliage in winter would not be a problem, the presence of the branches turning out to be enough. If possible I would plant them next to the hedge instead of right on top of it, as the hedge will start to thin out if shaded much - and the pointy tops of the (no longer sheared) arborvitaes will not look good poking up into the crowns of the trees.

Another point to consider is that you can hide something from yourself really well by covering your eyes - maybe you could plant something smaller next to your windows or deck and block the view right away that way, instead of trying to undertake a giant project over on the edge, near where the unwanted view is. The closer an object is to you, the bigger it looks.

This post was edited by bboy on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 14:28

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 2:12PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Metasequoia for 8 months a year or one if your semi native redwoods? Still think three feet a year is all you can count on.

Here Cottonwood and Sycamore could be non evergreen choices but neither is a real ideal tree for tight spaces.

I nominate the sequoias because of their pyramidal shapes when anything like young.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 3:03PM
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calliope(6)

You have just moved into a house you knew had a yard next door you can't stand to look at?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 6:16PM
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mattman587

European hornbeams (pyramidal) could be an option. They take sheering and can be trained. You could easily procure 3 inch cal trees and space them 8-10 feet and let them start growing into each other. Right off the bat, I would bet that they would provide a nice start to a 10 foot screen and within 10 years would be double that or more. Just a thought...Of course they are deciduous and would only offer a screen for 8-9 months of the year, but again, they are densely branched so that is also a positive for this situation.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:18PM
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drpraetorius(7)

Try an Osage Orange hedge. Maclura pomifera. They grow very dense as a hedge and become impenetrable. Old settlers would plant them as wind breaks on the great plains. They said as a hedge they were "Horse high, bull strong and hog thick." Seeds are available on line and they grow very readily from seed.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 11:35PM
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gardengal48

The OP is in Seattle, if the screen name is any indication. Osage orange is not at all common in this area and not generally listed as a hedge plant. The suggestion of the columnar hornbeam is not bad - while it is a deciduous tree the very dense, vertically oriented branching system makes for rather effective privacy screening even in winter. And although you can find it reasonably sized to start with, it is not exactly a fast grower.

My suggestion would be a hybrid thuja, Green Giant. These will get to about twice the size of the 'Smaragd's (30-40') and relatively rapidly - far faster than the standard arborvitae will grow. They do get wider - more of a typical Christmas tree shape - but certainly manageable.....much more manageable than Leyland cypress, which needs frequent shearings to stay within bounds. Green Giants of decent size are readily available in the area and are not pricey trees. Bamboo is also an excellent choice - fast and evergreen.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 3:00PM
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tjain_seattle

Hi All, First of all thanks all for the reply to my questions. Secondly I apologize about posting my question and disappearing.

I was working with the city and the neighbor about the ugly new thing coming up that I want to hide desperately.

The new finding is that I need about 20 feet of instant privacy. The only way to get even close to this is bamboo. I got in touch with a few bamboo places, only one of them had the black bamboo that was at 20ft.

The one thing I am trying to avoid is bamboo that will go beyond 20 ft. I realized that anything higher than that will make my house really dark.

What other options do I have if I am looking at 20ft privacy...I wish I could out a wall that high and just plant some creepers over them.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 12:58AM
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Allen456(8)

Why do I get the feeling you're talking about a skateboard ramp?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 7:31AM
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famartin(z5 NE NV)

I want details on what is going on in that neighbors yard ;)

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 5:58PM
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tjain_seattle

They are building cages for pet animals and I am not kidding...
I dont want to see ugly cages from my house

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Allen456(8)

You should check with your local governing authority to assure that what they are doing complies with all applicable ordinances.

Don't be an arse about it, but just make sure they are following the rules. It's possible that they may need to screen the cages, if they are even permitted, and that they may need to be a certain distance from property lines.

Just saying.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 7:03AM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I have all the Black Bamboo YOU can dig. Free. I must warn you though, some of it flops over almost every time it rains and always when it snows.
In your situation I would quit having the 'Smargards' pruned and let them grow. You will have to deal with the fallout from multiple leaders. Still a lot better than starting all over.
Mike

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:48PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes, black bamboo and other forms of Phyllostachys nigra bend way over on the edges when the leaves are wet, P. aureosulcata does this also. Golden bamboo is much better in this respect but tends to be bushy and broad relative to its height. For narrowly vertical hedging Semiarundinaria fastuosa has a much more suitable habit - among the more common bamboos.

The main reason to choose running bamboo in this instance - including the bother and expense of containing it - is the quick growth and predictable ultimate height (unlike all other choices the individual culms actually shoot up to a predetermined size and then remain there until they die). If you are going to buy and plant something already 20' tall then you might as well use trees instead.

There is also a specific reason not to buy tall bamboo divisions - when these are cut out of an existing clump or patch they are then disconnected from the shared energy level of the mother plant and then have to start over - new culms coming from the roots of the divisions on the new planting site are often much shorter in height and smaller in diameter. You end up having paid a lot more for plants that start out as small as if you had bought smaller, cheaper potted stock - except for the remaining older culms that serve to indicate the divisions were once part of a bigger plant. While the roots start over with small top growth down near the bottom these older culms age and deterioriate, may end up being cut out before the new growth is up to the same height and thickness.

This post was edited by bboy on Wed, Oct 16, 13 at 14:03

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 1:51PM
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tjain_seattle

bboy you mention " If you are going to buy and plant something already 20' tall then you might as well use trees instead." What does this mean. Are you saying I can buy a 20 feet tall tree. Is that even possible?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:59AM
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tjain_seattle

Does anyone have golden bamboos about 15-20 feet that I can take? II will have a professional bamboo company come and remove those from your house and then grow on mine. The cages are coming up quickly and its gross :(

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 3:18PM
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tjain_seattle

@botann: I did not see your offer to come and pick up the bamboos for free. I dont know how to private message you. Can you message me your phone number or address if you know how to PM Please?

Thanks

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 7:23PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

I can be reached at Mikebotann@gmail.com
I also have gold bamboo that I need to get out of the way of a driveway.
Mike

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:58PM
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tjain_seattle

I went to Mike's awesome 10 acre house and checked out the bamboos. Thanks Mike. I also spoke to a bamboo guy and he was ready to help me cut and bring the bamboo to my house and plant them.
However after yesterday's wind storm I doubt that bamboo will stand up in my house. My backyard is open from Lake Sammmish and the winds are crazy. The bamboo will surely bend and maybe often break.

However I did talk to a nursery in Washington State who think they can easily provide me with 18 feet tall native trees. They will require special equiment for planting but otherwise the process is not that complex.

Is this possible?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:37AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

anything is possible

but i would not fool with 18 foot transplants ... unless professionally installed.. and guaranteed to 2 years ....

the bigger the plant.. the bigger the stresses ... the harder to perfect watering .. etc ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 7:01AM
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tjain_seattle

Reviving this thread.
Continuing on the above topic.
So a local nursery is selling me 16'+ either already "hedged" Leyland Cypress or Excelsa Cedar. We visited the nursery and I felt that the Cedar's did not provide privacy on the top (where its most needed for us). The already hedged Leylands look much more effective.

Their arborist is going to come with dingos and bobcats to install the trees and then setup the watering system and they warranty the trees for a year.

I have been reading about Leyland and I am concerned about it getting huge and affecting my backyard which is about 35ft large . Ideally I would like to maintain the height at 18-20 feet but it seems like that is something I will not be able to do.

I am thinking that I will hire an arborist who will come once every year and prune and trim the hedges. I am thinking it will be around 40-50 hrs of work each year. Does this seems possible? Are my estimates on the amount of work too less?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:11AM
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jbraun_gw

tjain.

PLEASE talk to someone who has Leyland Cypress before you decide. When I did maintenance on a clients property who had that plant it was usually a nightmare.

The best idea I read was the idea to plant some taller trees in front of the Thuja hedge. You can buy anything of any size that you'd like. All's you have to do is pay for it. If you have to have it immediately you will pay high for it.

If you talk to a Landscape contractor you will get better ideas than if you talk to a Nursery owner who's main goal is to help themselves. Sorry if I offend any nurserymen out there.

It's still winter and you don't have to decide until the rains stop I'll bet.

Good Luck.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 5:23PM
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jbraun_gw

tjain

After posting I decided to give you a resource to help you more than my opinion. If you buy a Sunset Western Garden Book you would be able to decide for yourself. In the front section is the Plant Selection Guide. Under Hedges, Sunset lists both evergreen and deciduous plants. The Encyclopedia list all the plants, how high they grow, where they grow and lots of other info.

This book was my bible for plant selection for a few decades. I hope it helps you if you buy it.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:26PM
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tjain_seattle

Thanks jbraun, What kind of issues are you talking about with the Cypress. I have read that they are a pain to maintain, but thats the best option I have right now. I need immediate coverage as we have this horrible view from our bedroom window that makes my wife cringe. Are we really signing up for too much hassle

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 1:42AM
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jbraun_gw

tjain, I apologize, I didn't do my homework for the Leyland Cypress before I chimed in. That particular Cypress would work OK for you if you are willing to give it yearly pruning. You will need an arborist who can access it at or above the 20' level you'd like to keep it to. Otherwise if left unchecked it may go to it's 60'-70' limit. Talk to an arborist and see if he needs 360 degree access before you plant it next to a fence. He would be the one to take care of it, not the installer.

The main maintenance problem is that the branches may peal off and flop out, looking like a lock of hair out of place.

You may want to consider just using a few of these speciments to block your view of the area in question.

By the way, is your bedroom on the second floor? Or are you on a hill?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:53PM
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tjain_seattle

Bedroom is on the second floor. I will talk to an arborist tomorrow and sign a contract for a few years. Thanks

In the meantime Can someone tell me what tree is in the attached picture. The nursery tells me its Leyland Cypress but it looks like something else to me.

Thank You for your help

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:10PM
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tjain_seattle

and here is some foliage pics

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 11:11PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

First picture is cypress, second is arborvitae - you are showing two different trees.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 2:32AM
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tjain_seattle

Any more inputs on Leyland Cypress? I am getting a little nervous about putting up these trees

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 2:43AM
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mikebotann(8a SE of Seattle)

Whoever trims those trees will need to rent a hi-lift.
Is there access?
Mike

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:39AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Leylandii - are you insane?
Good luck with maintaining them because if you fail (and you will) even briefly, you will end up with huge areas of NONREGENERATIVE brown wood.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:58AM
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tjain_seattle

Mike, I dont think we will have access to hi-lift. I was thinking if we keep it to 18-20 feet a good ladder should work. This tree is lower than my roof. Is this just a stupid idea?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 12:32PM
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tjain_seattle

Kind of like this....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_5ANYuDWOA

BTW..I am planning to not do it myself but ask an arborist to do this once a year

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 1:27PM
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edlincoln(6A)

Did you say you have a lot of wind. Remember, if you plant a big tree, it doesn't have the root system of a tree that grew on the site. This means they are more vulnerable to drought and wind. Leyland Cypress are beautiful trees...however, I'm told they have brittle wood, and they grow big. On the other hand, while I have neighbors who took them out because they were big, my parents live in a windy area and none have actually blown down.

I think the fastest solution would be a chain link fence and a vine.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:08PM
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Tessinseattle(8)

Curious: what did you end up planting? We have a similar situation; we live in a very dense, urban area and want privacy in our single family house from the adjacent apartment building. We'd like to plant along the fence line something evergreen, dense, tall--20-30'-- with columnar habit and a narrow base. The only thing I see out there that grows fast enough is the skyrocket juniper, which won't do well in Seattle's moisture. Can't deal with bamboo. We've had it before and it either flops over or spreads like mad and becomes a massive property value liability. What was your solution?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:42PM
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