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Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

Posted by retainingwalldude CA (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 20:39

I have retaining walls that wrap around the house. The attached picture shows the side yard retaining walls, each step being 3.5 feet in height. The step between the walls is 4 feet deep.

The HOA is forcing me to plant a screen of trees (on the level between the walls) to cover up a shed that is on the higher retaining wall (not shown in the picture, left side of retaining wall). The shed is probably ~8-9 feet high.

Any suggestions on something I can plant (preferably evergreen, where the rosemary plants are now) on the step of the retaining wall that will grow to be ~12 feet to obstruct the view of the shed (from the street)?

I'm in the Bay Area, California 9-10 Zone. Thanks for the help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

Guess big government starts with the HOA.

Any of the larger ornamental grasses a possibility?

What else... My neighbor has a dwarf pear(?) tree on a terrace.

Maybe a Japanese maple or two. Really it looks like a neat place to get some dwarf conifers or Japanese maples right up at eye level. Even some flowering bulbs.


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

Would they accept trellis on/in front of the shed walls with climbers on them? Or espaliered fruit trees in front of the shed?


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

Thanks for the suggestions.

Some questions - Do you think Japanese maple roots (shallow, tight diameter?) would be ok for the retaining wall? I'll also look into the conifers. Are there some that will reach 12-15' and are also have a tight diameter in their roots?

I also have been thinking about installing a trellis. However, any "structural" addition requires a new HOA approval. (Backstory: the shed was approved by the HOA years ago and they "rescinded" that decision, requiring trees, etc the shield the shed.) The espaliered fruit trees idea looks awesome. I'll have to decide how much work I want to put in for upkeep!


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

Have you considered something along the lines of Metrosideros collina 'Springfire'?


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

The Metrosideros collins might look to be a bit big rooted for the retaining wall level.

Thoughts on lining the retaining wall level with a row of emerald green arborvitae, thuja occidentals 'smaragd'? I saw a bunch at Lowes and says the average size is 15'Hx4'W, spacing 4'.


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

and are also have a tight diameter in their roots?

==>>> i have no clue what you are meaning ...???

no tree has tight diameter roots ... either in width nor spread .. whichever you are meaning ...

in 30 odd years of reading catalogs.. and studying plant .... i never heard that term ... and if you are hearing that from some dude trying to sell you a plant .. then walk away from him.. because he is using large animal excrement on you ... if you get my drift ..

ken


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 15:29

For 12' you do not need a tree. The right size of shrub will be perfectly adequate, and a medium shrub will have a more restrained root system than a tree genetically determined to grow 25'+ tall. If your HOA has an "approved" list of shrubs look there first.

If you are coastal bay area, look at Azara microphylla and/or one of the Pittosporum tenuifolium selections that are narrow such as 'Tasman Ruffles'. Not good for inland heat eg Walnut Creek.

This post was edited by hoovb on Tue, Apr 29, 14 at 21:13


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

"Mature size" is the average size at 10 years. So if you divide the "mature" height and width by 10, that is how much it grows per year (on the average, probably, more or less, depending on conditions, etc.).

And when trees or shrubs reach their 10-year-old "mature" size, they continue growing at the same rate....


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

--->And when trees or shrubs reach their 10-year-old "mature" size, they continue growing at the same rate.... <---

That isn't really how it calculates out. Some shrubs are at the end of their life span in 10 years, and some plants are still youngsters at 30+. They do not grow at the same rate throughout their lifetime. Some start out slow, then get established and grow at a quicker rate until mature. Then they may begin to increase in size at a slower rate. It is similar to saying our one year being equal to seven for a dog.That isn't how dogs grow and mature either.


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RE: Help! Trees on retaining wall step?

If you're in a cool summer part of the Bay area, how 'bout a few Chusqueas?


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