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Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Posted by sfdziegler SD (My Page) on
Tue, May 22, 12 at 18:18

I have about a 10' gap between my 6' cedar privacy fence on the West side and my next door neighbor's 6' "good neighbor"-style cedar privacy fence on the East side. Right now, it is just a strip of bluegrass about 10'x100'.

I've considered poplars, but I don't want to dig out stumps down the road when they die. I've considered arborvitae but I'm a little worried about rabbits and frost/snowbanks killing the lower portion of the plants. I've considered a few trees of some variety, but I really don't want my branches hanging over the neighbor's back yard and have to worry about paying someone to cut limbs down the road. Also considered columnar buckthorn, but after reading about how invasive those are in local forests I decided that might not be the best, either.

I don't have any irrigation on that section of grass, but it stays wet enough that the grass hasn't died. I imagine the area gets decent filtered morning light from the East, the S end of the strip gets direct sun mid-day, and little light or shade late day due to my privacy fence. Old farmland, so thin topsoil and a lot of clay further down.

I'd like some privacy between us and the neighbors eventually, so looking for something zone 4/5 that will grow at least 15-20' tall.

Thanks for any advice.

Dave


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Could you select Fir,Eastern white pine,Eastern redcedar,Giant sequoia?


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

RE: Could you select Fir,Eastern white pine,Eastern redcedar,Giant sequoia?

"I've considered a few trees of some variety, but I really don't want my branches hanging over the neighbor's back yard and have to worry about paying someone to cut limbs down the road."

Would those end up in my neighbor's back yard?

Last night, I drove past a hedge of Amur Maple trees that was growing N-S in partial shade. Any opinions on them?


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

If I understand you correctly, the "gap" is a 100'-long x 10'-wide corridor that is sandwiched between two fences?

What is planted in both yards along the corridor? If you could add a picture that explains the situation, that's always helpful.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Is this area maintained, other than mowed?

Assuming yard's reading of the situation is correct, this might be a good spot for a native shrub hedgerow. In theory, you wouldn't have to water it once established and pruning would be minimal.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

"the "gap" is a 100'-long x 10'-wide corridor that is sandwiched between two fences?"

Correct.

"What is planted in both yards along the corridor?"

On my (West) side, from N to S starting in the NE corner: 8x12 shed 10' tall, 8x12 veggie garden, mid way down is a very young 4-5' tall river birch about 20' in from the fence.

On their (East) side, from N to S starting in NW corner: 3 Arborvitae in the corner, half way down is a maple of some variety (Autumn blaze I suspect), and maybe some small shrubs toward the SW corner.

Their yard is all new plants/shrubs this year (new neighbors). My yard is largely unlandscaped, but we're planning on shrub and flower beds around the entire yard along the fence line.

I want to plant a row of something in the DMZ :-) and just fabric/plastic and mulch over the grass so I don't have to mow it.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Here's a rough sketch of the yards.

Here is a link that might be useful: Back Yards


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

First link not working, try this one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Back Yards


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Dave, I was wondering if it was mainly mowed grass outside of the corridor area and I take from the diagram, that it is. ...?

You could create a natural hedge out of one or two plant materials. If it was more than one, how you arrange would depend on sight lines that you are trying to block. Keep it simple is best. Here are suggestions of some nice looking plants... (each has its personality so research for the details)...

common lilac (to 15')
Japanese tree lilac (to 30')
staghorn sumac (to 15' or a little higher... nice fall color and winter interest, mowing on the outside of fence would contain it; easy care)
Amelanchier 15' to 30'
Eastern redcedar (to 25')
Amur Maple (15')

The Jap tree lilac and Amelanchier will probably get the widest.

I would NOT use landscape fabric in an attempt to control weeds. It will back fire and be a mess to undo. Kill grass; mulch heavily. I'd look into low care groundcovers as a long term solution.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

"Dave, I was wondering if it was mainly mowed grass outside of the corridor area and I take from the diagram, that it is. ...?"
Yes, grass on either side of both fences. Grass in between in the corridor.

"would depend on sight lines that you are trying to block."
Basically trying to get something up between the yards, a tall hedge of some sort.

"common lilac (to 15') "
"Japanese tree lilac (to 30') "
These are the current front runners to be honest.

"staghorn sumac (to 15' or a little higher... nice fall color and winter interest, mowing on the outside of fence would contain it; easy care) "
Love this stuff, but it spreads like crazy around here from what I've seen. There will be planting beds on my West side inside the fence eventually, so I don't want these guys creeping into the back yard.

"Amur Maple (15')"
Another front runner.

"I would NOT use landscape fabric in an attempt to control weeds. It will back fire and be a mess to undo. Kill grass; mulch heavily. I'd look into low care groundcovers as a long term solution."
I've used it elsewhere around the yard and have had no problems in the past 10 years. ;-)

Thanks for the suggestions!


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

If you fill it in with shrubs, you and your neighbor will no longer be able to access the back side of your fences for maintenance purposes.

Just a thought.

Also, I would be very careful to check the property boundaries, and local codes governing fences and setbacks.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

We definitely know where the property boundaries are... sore subject, but it was recently surveyed. :-)

The fence is 10' into my property on that side. No setbacks on that side of the property, just one at the N end that the entire neighborhood has built fences through already.

I've considered the maintenance issue, and that's why I've been leaning more toward a tree of some sort vs. shrubs. I wanted some arborvitae, but the fiance doesn't like the look of them. Been reconsidering the lilac and Amur maple idea... what about 3-4 Columnar Norway maples? Or something else that will stay very tight to the trunk?


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

You know... I mentioned maples just because I've seen some slow growing columnar trees in my neighborhood that I thought were maples. But I really don't want something that's going to send roots up all over the place.

There are some rather columnar oak trees of some sort growing out in the boulevard where I work, maybe something like that would work?
http://www.narrowtree.com/p-trees/tree-columnar/oak-green-pillar.html#
http://www.narrowtree.com/p-trees/tree-columnar/oak-regal-prince.html#

Are all Aspen alike? Do they all send little runners out all over the yard?
http://www.narrowtree.com/p-trees/tree-columnar/aspen-swedish-columnar.html#

I really just want something that will eventually block the view between my deck and the neighbors. I guess I don't really need to fill in the entire zone, just something there would be nice.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Why don't you move your fence over the 10 feet and regain that usable space in your yard?


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

"Why don't you move your fence over the 10 feet and regain that usable space in your yard?"

Exactly.
After I first moved in my new neighbor came to ask me if I minded if he trimmed my shrubs.
MY shrubs? They were ten feet outside my fence!
Who knew?
We had it surveyed and come to find out had almost 15 feet we didn't know we had.
I had 200 feet of fencing moved over.
Cost a bit but I am so glad we did it.
I have another five feet on the other side of the yard but can't justify the cost of moving the fence for that smaller amount of room.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

"Why don't you move your fence over the 10 feet and regain that usable space in your yard?"

Because.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Here is an older Google map of the land. The shed, garden, and some trees were added since this shot, and the neighbor has a bunch of crap in his back yard now.

Notice the old fence line. That is where my fence was originally. The previous owner next door had her irrigation system and sod installed incorrectly, so when my sod company showed up, they just went with the survey stake located by the other company. Wasn't the property marker, but some sort of neighborhood plat marker next to the curb.

Oops.

So... fast forward 10 years, new buyers have the land surveyed and guess what? I have to move 100' of fence and 6 sprinkler zones. I was not a happy camper at the time.

I didn't have enough room or reason for a gate on that side anymore (used to have an 8' gate on that side), and didn't feel like tying into their fence. So I decided to move the fence further onto my property and join up to the next corner post.

Red line is new fence, yellow line is property line, orange line is line-of-sight from deck to deck.

I'm not interested in shoulda-coulda-woulda, adverse possession laws, suing survey and sprinkler companies, or fence relocation. A bit off topic, but that's the story.

Now: what can I plant there that will give me some privacy along the orange line-of-sight and will be mostly well-behaved? I am fine filling the entire thing in with mulch or ground cover so I don't have to mow. Shrubs on the E side of my house are limelight hydrangea.

Thanks :-)

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Google Map


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

So 15 feet tall and never, ever no matter what no wider than 10 feet?
Eight would be better so you can at least walk by them.
How easy is it going to be to hand water the first year while things establish?


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GEEZ I wish we could edit

You might want to run this by the guys in the Conifer forum.
I know you said the GF didn't like arborvitae but there are a million varieties, some of which are quite beautiful.
I'd try my best to find a conifer or broadleaf evergreen so it isn't bare all winter.
Not gonna be all that easy to rake leaves in there, either.

Also remember that lack of air flow might be a problem in the future if it is packed too tight.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Should be easy to hand water. I have rain barrels behind the shed and a hose on the E side of the house.

Good point about the leaves though.

I don't think airflow will be a problem, it is pretty windy out here.

Maybe a few arborvitae in the line of sight would be the way to go.

Or maybe I should just kill the grass, rock or mulch the area, plant some ground cover, and call it a day. I guess the neighbor planted trees in his back yard, so privacy will be there someday. I'm probably over thinking it.

Thanks.

Dave


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Bingo, I agree you're overthinking. See what the garden centre has in stock that you like, and grab it. If you don't like it or it grows too big, kill and replace :-)

Just make sure that the canopy of the thing is at the right height. Width is more easily controllable, especially if you choose something that is more shrubby than tree-like. Height is harder to adjust with pruning.

But also, are you quite sure that killing the grass and adding rocks or mulch will reduce your workload? You've got the mower out anyway, correct? The alternative to mowing this area is not "no work" but rather "different work." Specifically, bending down and pulling weeds, most likely. Or leaf blowing or something.

The only thing I can think of that would do better is if you grow juniper to cover the ground - that is, kill the grass and mulch as the juniper grows in. But you have to leave yourself a path through it.

Karin L


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

For me a couple of straight passes with a lawn mower and a weedeater would be infinitely easier than establishing new plants and maintaining them.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Using a stone mulch would definitely NOT be a good thing to do for the long term.

If you plant something like a small tree/large shrub it's likely that you will want to limb it up sufficiently that you can walk below the canopy in order to maintain it (especially keep out weeds.) Eventually, that would mean mulch or shade tolerant groundcover. It's not much of a worry about some overhanging branches. The neighbor will like them or not and do as he wishes to what crosses over on to his own property. It is the common state for property line tree canopies to cross over lines. Look at Google Satellite anywhere to see that this is the case.

Consider some of the plants that have been already mentioned and make your best selection. It's likely than no choice will be "perfect" in all respects.


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RE: Plant Choice For N-S 10'x100' Gap Between Yards

Try looking at Swedish Aspens if you like the look of Quaking Aspens, but don't like the runner aspect.


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