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Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

Posted by OregonEd 7 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 19:18

My neighbor inherited her home from her grandmother, and on her move in chopped down about every tree in her yard. Yes, she is odd.

My office window on the side of my house looks straight out towards her house. There used to be small trees planted on her side of the fence that created privacy and pretty views. Those trees are gone. Unfortunately, the area for trees on my side of the fence is not as wide as on her side. I have to be the one to plant something there if I want to block her house and have a nicer office window view.

The house is on a slight slope, in that my office window is about 6 feet above the ground outside. There is a 6' feence between the yard. This side of my yard is narrow. I only have 6-8' between my house and the fence, and the couple of feet next to my home is paved.

I figured I need a tree at least 10' high to improve my view, with something 12-15' high being as tall as necessary.

Any ideas for a narrow, 10-15' tree? The area is part sun, part shade.
I prefer evergreens, but don't want a conifer or pine. A deciduous would be ok if that's all I have available. Looking through empty branches is prettier than looking at a wall :)
I thought about a Bay Laurel, but not sure how bushy it would get?

Please offer some suggestions :)
Thanks,
Ed in Portland.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 20:46

Although tolerant of shearing bay laurel is otherwise too big and bushy - and prone to cold damage in the north. You could have it grow up to where you want it over a period of years only to then freeze back in a hard winter, resulting in a partial or complete loss of screening - and dead branches and leaves to clear away.

Many people use Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' for this kind of situation, it is so popular they even stock it once or twice per year at CostCo.

By the way Portland is USDA 8, same as up here.

This post was edited by bboy on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 20:47


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

Thanks bboy.
I know Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'. It is common around here. I even have it on part of the other side of my house.

However, I really want a tree or tall shrub if possible. I am ok with some light getting through. With the Thuja, I would instead be looking at a solid 'wall' of green, instead of a house wall :)


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 21:15

If you don't need leaves all year vine maple is good. You could plant some evergreen shrubs under it so the planting has more going on than just a deciduous tree in front of a fence.


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

I like the vine maple idea, as I'm very attracted to maples, even as common as they are around here (PNW)


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

For a narrow tree, I can only think of Emerald Green Thuja. If you are concerned of a "wall" view, plant them with spaces in between. The mature width of this tree is 3-4 feet and mature height of 10 to 12 feet.

Bay Laurel can be a good option but the mature width of this is 8 - 10 feet. Imagine how bushy this can be. One thing I like though is it is pest resistant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info and pics for Emerald Green Thuja


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

So given your window height, you don't need to block your fence but block the view above the fence?
Deciduous trees would make it easier for you to walk along that narrow walkway.. Small maples or native trees like redbuds (there are small cultivars such as Rising Sun) would be nice. Guess you should be willing to let some of the branches reach over the fence just a little, which the neighbor most likely don't mind.

This post was edited by ttonk on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 11:21


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 15:50

'Smaragd' 12' tall and bay laurels 10' wide are a long way from full development. South Seattle Community College had 'Smaragd' 17' tall some years ago; I've seen much larger examples in older plantings that looked like they could be this same cultivar - which otherwise didn't become common here until the late 1980s. So probably many, if not most examples encountered here aren't going to be very old.

In a nursery field near Portland both this and 'Fastigiata' were seen in intermixed rows - both cultivars were about the same height. Seattle has multiple 'Fastigiata' 31'-35' tall (ca 2005).

The University of Washington has a bay laurel over 48' tall; most such larger, older examples here have numerous stems coming from near the base - perhaps this dates from the notorious November 1955 freeze. With a clump habit a tree this tall is even farther beyond 10' wide than it would be with a single trunk.


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

My next door neighbour's Bay tree - some years ago after it had been cut back. It's bigger now.
bay tree photo baytree.jpg


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

ttonk, you are correct in that I need something that is above the fence height. The view out my window is from 6'-12' above the ground. And yes, I also like your thoughts on being able to walk under the tree on the sidewalk.

Would I be better with a small normal maple, or a vine maple variety. I am thinking the vine maple may be too 'poofy' down low?

If branches extend some over the fence that is ok. If it got to be too much, I can prune them as needed to limit over hang.

I should also say that I am more concerned with just having a nice view out my window, rather than 100% privacy blocking. There isn't a window on my neighbors house that causes me privacy concerns. I just find sitting at my desk looking out my window onto a plain wall to be ugly.

Thanks for the suggestions :)
Ed

This post was edited by OregonEd on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 18:43


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 2:45

Typical habit of vine maple not in full shade is a vase, with most of the growth in the upper part. That's one of the reasons I mentioned it.


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

The first tree that comes to mind to me is the Eastern Red Cedar. It is very narrow, and evergreen. It is technically a conifer, but has little blue "berries" instead of cones. Not terribly attractive, and presents the same "wall" problem as Thuja.

What about American Holly? It's evergreen but not a conifer, and has red berries for visual interest. It can get bushy, but takes pretty well to pruning, so you can probably make it whatever width you like. There are many kinds of Holly, some of which are actual trees rather then shrubs?

As far as trees that are pretty to look at, nothing beats fruit trees. They have flowers in the Spring, fruit in the fall. American Persimmon and Paw Paw are native. (Paw Paw is also shade tolerant.)


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

check out something like: Acer saccharum 'Newton Sentry'

at the link

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 14:44

'Newton Sentry' produces a full height tree at least 60' tall.


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

Try a Laburnum. Laburnum × watereri. It is a naturally upright small tree. Growing to about 15 or 20 feet. In the spring it has long panicles of bright yellow, sweet pea shaped flowers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laburnum_anagyroides

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/plant-finder/plant-details/kc/c115/laburnum-x-watereri-vossii.aspx

http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/lawa-i.htm


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RE: Suggestions for narrow tree to block neighbors.

Thanks all.
I picked up a Tsukasa Silhouette Japanese Maple today for this location.
Ed


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