laurajp

Tree in narrow spot for privacy?

laurajp
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

I would appreciate any suggestions for a narrow tree or shrub between two pyramidal trees, to screen the view of the neighbor's house. It is to replace the little juniper behind the pink sedum in the photo. It is a blue point juniper I picked up on sale/impulse but realized thought it will get taller it will not get wider than its 2.5 feet and will not create the screening I want. Something 10 feet or taller, 5-10 feet wide.



- We are in zone 6, urban area outside Boston (houses close to one another, small yards)

- The tree spot faces south-west, and receives sun between the houses on the side in the morning and most of the afternoon on the face. About 5 & 7 hours of sun, depending on the time of year.

- In the photo, the tree to the left is a 10 ft Umbrella pine and the right a 12 ft stewardia. They will grow together a bit over time but will not fill the gap that displays the neighbor's white house (my goal).

- I am seeking a tree that is either columar or vase shaped. I am thinking at maturity something that is 10-25 feet tall (could be taller but not much) and 5-10 feet wide (10 max).

- Open to any type of tree (flowering or not) that will do well and provide some level of screen sooner rather than later, though have a preferance for decidious. Trying to find something at a local nursery as likely to get a larger specimen verus online (and have yet to order a tree online - yikes!) Love contrast (different color, texture, etc.)

I have created an idea list and would love to hear about anyone's experience with these trees (or photos of more mature trees which are so hard to find), opinions on their ability to meet my goals OR alternative tree suggestions that meet my goals/parameters. A single stem tree would allow me to plant closer to the fench and have a larger canopy, but I would consider a shrub.

- Small stature Ginkgos (goldspire or sky tower, though sky tower slow growth) - love ginkgos but have never seen these type in person and might have to order online (gulp...but don't want to get a small one)

- Crimson Point Flowering Plum - love the idea of the burgundy but have not found a mature photo or a place locally that sells

- Narrow magnolias (Genie, Black Tuplip, Sunsation, Emerald Tower) - like the idea of the large dark foliage in contrast to adjacent trees but concerned about surface roots (not far from a patio, maybe 5 feet). Don't know if it will look funny to have a magnolia "in the back". Found the first two locally.

- Galdiator crap apple - also burgundy, ornamental fruits. Found one locally.

Very much appreciate any advice from other gardeners. We are pretty new to this and have so much to learn!

Comments (35)

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    2 months ago

    Is the other side of the fence your property? If so, consider planting something like a disease resistant mid-sized crabapple like the gladiator you mentioned or one a bit wider or a medium cultivar of redbud. You don’t need something that has branches to the ground because the fence is there.

    laurajp thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • Christopher C Nc
    2 months ago

    From the view point of your picture, one of the full sized Hydrangea paniculata should hide that house just fine by year three.

    laurajp thanked Christopher C Nc
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  • Addison in VT z4a
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Sorry, I don't have experience with the trees on your list. Genie magnolia looks lovely and would provide good contrast! ...Have no experience with this either, but have you seen Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa'? I think it meets all your requirements :)

    Edit: For some reason the search is screwed up from here. You can just search Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa.' It's a narrow (columnar) cherry tree that gets covered in blooms in the spring.

    laurajp thanked Addison in VT z4a
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  • Marie Tulin
    last month

    Are you sure you need something else? My depth perception is non existent but the plants look pretty close together right now. Double check the ultimate width of the umbrella pine. It is lovely at maturity and it would be a shame to crowd it. The evergreen between the umbrella pine and stewartia is going to be shaded out soon. And is it right up to the fence. There should be at least two feet between it's ultimate growth and the fence/ What about the perennial polygonum polymorpha just to hold the space until the pine and stewartia fill in (which may only be a few years, judging from the growth of mine) It would be a change in texture and color from the umbrella pine. It is not invasive. It can get to 6 or 7 feet which might not block out the house behind it but will distract the eye. In both urban and suburban neighborhoods sometimes we can 't eliminate our neighbors, with out feeling hemmed in ourselves. But we can redirect the eye with an attractive distraction.

    Another non flowering option is Degroot's spire. If you pick one with a single leader it can stay around 2 feet wide and gets tall.

    But you really have to check the spacing or you'll be digging up something you already planted, or pruning for years or looking at trees that are growing poorly for lack of light.


    I speak from the experience of undoing what I've done many many times because I planted too closely.

    laurajp thanked Marie Tulin
  • laurajp
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks everyone for your comments and ideas.


    NHBabs z4b-5a NH the other side of the fence is not my property. We live in a dense urban community and it is not uncommon to plant along fences and neighbors trim back plants to the property line if they wish. I looked for a medium sized rebud ipn your suggestion but no luck as most seemed too wide for the space other than the weeping varities which actually seem to be on the shorter size than what I was looking for. I completely agree that I don't need something with branches to the ground. I an still considering the gladiator, but putting a crabapple in the background seems strange...more of a forground tree to me. There are some trees that like to be in the background, really complimenting others versus standing out.


    Christopher C Nc I had not considered the full sized Hydrangea paniculata, were you thinking tree form or shrub? With shrub form would it be challenging to keep it in the 10 foot wide envelop (excessive pruning)? I would look to taller varieties that would be 10-15 tall. Any suggestions?


    Addison in VT z4a I had defintely considered the Prunus serrulata 'Amanogawa', but didn't know if it would look strange behind the other two as it seems more like a front and center tree. Has anyone had experience with this fastigate cherry tree?


    Dig Doug's Designs, I think the Snowcone Snowbell is an interesting idea and snowbells and silverbells are a tree I really like, though the latter are hard to find by me. I wonder if it would be too wide in the long run?


    Marie Tulin your question is spot on -- do I really need something? This situation challenges my patience as a newish gardener, but right now I want some screening, at least in the shorter term. Maybe that is the case for a tall shrub that we might be able to move later in time (versus moving a mid-sized tree which which is out of our skill/strenght/equipment level.) We just moved a large red twig dogwood (we had not idea how big it would get when we put it in three years ago), which was managable.


    Your advice about the value of attractive distraction versus screening is good. I know I have to stop looking for the voids versus enjoying the beauty and something like the polygonum polymorpha is a gorgeous distraction! I wasn't familiar with that plant, thank you for sharing. And I am glad you noted that they can get so tall -- a quick search stated 3-5 feet tall but maybe worth the chance to see if it will get taller as in your experience. I also am considering other locations -- I want one!


    Both the Umbrella and Stewardia are slow growers, the Umbrella is super slow, Yes, the Juniper in between now will be definitely croweded out in a few years, at least at the bottom. Although it is supposed to grow 12-15 feet tall (blue arrow) it is only 2.5 feet wide and is not expected to get any wider. That was my concern with the Degroot's spire, narrow. I imagine a sweet narrow vase shaped tree in between the two pyramids. Although both trees are supposed to get at least 25 tall...in what century ;)


    I keep returning to the Crimson Point Flowering Plum -- pretty simple white spring flowers, harrow vase shape, great color contrast but not sad to be in the backround - BUT I have never seen them in real life. I would love to hear about anyone's experience with the Crimson Point Flowering Plum. As well as any more suggestions! This conversation is really getting my gears spinning, especially about the idea of a tall shrub either for now or longer term. Thank you all!





  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Speaking from experience, like Marie, I can't count the times I've had to move something I've planted too close. I really seen to have a limitation there. [g]. So, I would not be the one to be able to look at your photo and tell if the trees you have now are too close or will be just right soon. Someone who has a good eye and experience with those two trees, which I don't have either, would be better for you.

    What I did want to say, is that if you put a 'small shrub' there to hold the place, as a screen that you plan on moving later, by the time it is large enough to screen out that house, it will be big enough to be a bear to move it. I wonder what about growing annual sunflowers every year until your trees grow in? Get some tall varieties and you should not have any problem screening out that house. And when you don't need them there any more, you can just stop planting them.

    I think the point I would pay attention to the most, is that if you attempt to put a third tree there, it very well may rob moisture and fertility from the two trees you are trying to grow, so they won't mature as well as you would like them to. I've had experience with that issue too. [g]. We also live in an area with homes close together with small lots.

    laurajp thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • laurajp
    Original Author
    last month

    prairiemoon2 z6b, the sunflower idea is interesting, in line with the suggestion to plan a perennial that dies back in the winter. And maybe I should be more careful about considering competition for moisture and nutrients. I think I am going to give myself a little more time to consider, but while I wait things out I will always be open to ideas and suggestions -- especially as we are still designing and could use ideas in other places in our yard as well.


    indianagardengirl I love climbing vines and have been online browsing free standing trellises and other garden art -- another opportunity to distract from the view beyond, if not screen the neighbors.

  • l pinkmountain
    last month

    I used similar plants for screening at my last row house, very close to neighbors. That juniper might surprise you . . . One option is to leave it bit and wait and see . . . like maybe wait two years and meanwhile plant something in front of it . . .

    A nice narrow deciduous tree is Persian ironwood/Parrotia. Invasive in forested areas, looks like yours wouldn't be spreading out into any place like that . . . I planted a native ironwood, Carpinus carolinia also called "Musclewood." Harder to come by, but nice foliage. Not particularly competitive with the magnolia since it has no noticeable flowers.

    If it were me, I'd leave well enough alone and plant a Japanese red maple, Fireglow in front of the juniper. That's the combo I had. It grew fast, and can be pruned to a more narrow shape. Gorgeous color contrast. DO NOT risk a crabapple with junipers, they share a disease called "cedar apple rust" which ruins the foliage on both trees. At least check first for resistance, but even when they say resistance, it isn't always a perfect system.

    Ginkos expensive, could be nice, could get out of hand over time. Plums can be pruned heavily, and offer some of the same benefits as the maple I mentioned, a nice color contrast with the junipers and evergreens.

  • Marie Tulin
    last month

    Yes, Garden Art.! Such as a beautiful big pot. A stand in for a plant . Gives contrasting texture, shape, moveable, any color you want. Sort of tucked behind the branches of the umbrella pine. And you could plant something in it, too.

    Or leave well enough alone because it really is ok the way it is.

    If you were into statuary you could start a collection of trolls, garden elves, hobbits...it would be very English....

  • Marie Tulin
    last month

    My blue arrow is at least 20' about 8 years after planting. It's gotten lanky but i do enjoy the color and habit.

  • laurajp
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Marie Tulin, how wide has your Blue Arrow become? I actually purchased mine with an open habit (last years inventory so no longer narrow and upright probably due to snow laying branches open) and I prefer it that way.

  • Marie Tulin
    last month

    laurajp it is 14feet from branch tip to branch tip. But it has become very open and looks airy.

    I'll try and grab a photo

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    Oh, one other idea, if you are hoping to leave the Blue Arrow and the rest - I think if you be vigilant at keeping them well watered and give them some organic fertilizer as recommended, you will help them all to get what they need to fill in and grow to their full potential.

  • tsugajunkie z5 SE WI ♱
    last month

    A tall perennial similar in height to sunflowers would be Silphium perfoliatum, cupplant.

    tj

  • Embothrium
    last month
    last modified: last month

    You've apparently been given a false impression of 'Blue Point' - there is no need to move or replace yours other than the fact that is is much too close to the fence.

    https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/1598/blue-point-juniper/

    laurajp thanked Embothrium
  • laurajp
    Original Author
    last month

    @Embothrium we have a 'Blue Arrow Juniper' not a 'Blue Point'. The Blue Arrow Juniper is supposed to get 12-15' tall but remain 2' wide. Ours is about 6 feet tall and at least 2 feet wide (especially because of the open habit). https://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/1709/blue-arrow-juniper/

  • Embothrium
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Here's what I was going by:

    It is a blue point juniper I picked up on sale/impulse

    Anyway since 'Skyrocket' varies, is not always skinny that could be why your 'Blue Arrow' is not columnar either - maybe it varies as well. So that the example you have now is going to continue to be broader than the stereotype of the cultivar.

    laurajp thanked Embothrium
  • djacobz568sewi
    last month

    An opinion on a tree sized, paniculata hydrangea......by the time it grew to the height you are speaking about, the canopy would be pushing into the other trees there. You have to consider the width of the canopy. I have a nine year limelight Hydrangea tree and you can see the Spread here:


    The neighbors fence is 6 feet.

    they can spread more as they get heavy with bloom


    Debra

  • Embothrium
    last month

    Expect heights of between 6' and over 10' with proportionate crown spreads from any Hydrangea paniculata cultivars not depicted as smaller growing than usual.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    Embothrium - in your first photo, that Limelight is so upright. With all those heavy blossoms, does that really stay upright all on it's own, without any of the branches leaning over?

  • djacobz568sewi
    last month

    Prairiemoon, I think you are referring to my photos of the Limelight Hydrangea Tree. Both pictures show the tree without any support of any kind. In the first picture the flowers are in their white stage and stand very upright. As the flowers continue to grow some of the branches begin to bend down as you see in the 2nd picture. It’s hard to tell, but some of the blooms are the size of a football. When we get heavy rain they really lean down, but don’t break.

    debra

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    djacobz - Thank you, it was. your photo I was asking about. [g]. I have two fairly new "Little Lime' and I've been unhappy with them because they grow unevenly. The middle of the top growth sticks up about a foot taller than the rest of the plant, and the rest of the plant droops low when in bloom. It makes it look very awkward, like it has a bad haircut. [g]. I have another spot that I need a larger Hydrangea and I was considering Limelight, but because of the bad experience with Little Lime, I was thinking not. Yours look very good, even when they droop a little lower.

  • littlebug zone 5 Missouri
    last month

    I think I’d plant another Blue Juniper. To the right of the existing one and pulled toward the viewer a bit. Maybe have to move that autumn red sedum someplace else, but that’s easy enough.

    laurajp thanked littlebug zone 5 Missouri
  • PRN
    last month

    I know you would like something deciduous but if you can't find anything suitable, look at arborvitae emerald green. It is narrow, grows quickly but is tidy, looks nice year round, and wouldn't overhang the fence as it matures.

    laurajp thanked PRN
  • Marie Tulin
    last month

    Harder to find but also suitable "DeGroot's Spire" Handsome foliage and form

  • ceilsan32
    last month

    A Betty Magnolia will work in your zone, grows to about 12-15', is low maintenance, provides screening effect you desire. Have you considered any flowering viburnums? They are less likely to receive deer damage and grow 15' tall or more. Sides can be trimmed as needed. Lilacs will grow in your zone, but you'd need older varieties for height.

    Kolkwetzia is another flowering shrub to consider.

  • Hutchae84 Zone 8b/PNW
    last month

    Since the two other trees will grow in in time, what about planting something in a pot that meets your requirements for now, and when the trees do fill in you could move the pot forward as a focal point or to another part of your yard/patio Some ideas that are 10ft by 5-10ft.... camellia, smaller sizes japanese maple (Maybe Summer Gold or Bishou since you like Ginkgo) Pittosporum (Marjorie Cannon or Silver Sheen), grafted standard tree-could be a panicle Hygrangea, willow, etc.

    The pot will also give you another couple feet of height on whichever plant you choose for sooner fill in effect.

  • Hutchae84 Zone 8b/PNW
    last month

    Another option, if you like the look, is a narrow hedging plant, Rose of Sharon Purple or White Pillar gets 10-16ft tall and 2-3ft wide, you could get a few and they put on growth fast.

    laurajp thanked Hutchae84 Zone 8b/PNW
  • Marie Tulin
    29 days ago

    But ROS is only worth looking at for about 3-4 weeks a year. And unless you get the so-called sterile ones, the seedlings are a royal PITA. Hundreds of them or more each season.

    laurajp thanked Marie Tulin
  • Hutchae84 Zone 8b/PNW
    28 days ago

    Marie-I can't speak for any other ROS and I know a lot of people don't like them but the one I have (Purple Pillar) has been in bloom since I got it (August) and is still blooming in November although we have had an unseasonably warm Fall so who knows if that will be the case for next year.

  • Marie Tulin
    28 days ago

    Yes, I understand you. But you are zone 8 PNW and I'm in Massachusetts zone 6 a..The poster posted to landscape design and New England. and trees. My comment was originating from New England; you're in grow-heaven . No matter what I say in on a white Christmasr l'dove to have a month or two less of temps in the teens and 20's. We also like to say we love, love, love 4 seasons climate. Ask some one in a mid march snowstorm.

    Nice to meet you. Come by anytime. I think I saw your name on the perennials forum, didn't I?

  • Hutchae84 Zone 8b/PNW
    27 days ago

    Ah yes very true! I like to visit the various garden forums, so you most likely did.