Fast growing shrub and tree suggestions?

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by Clint, Aug 12, 2006.

  1. Clint

    Clint Member

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    Location:
    Victoria
    We live in a 2 story house on a busy street facing west and are looking to plant some fairly fast growing shade trees & shrubs in the front yard. We want to avoid plants with aggresive root systems since they will have to be fairly close to both the house and the road (our front yard is not very big). We're looking to try to achieve a couple of things.

    1. Give us some privacy from the busy road.
    2. Provide shade in the front of the house in the summer. Our west facing living room gets smoking hot in the evenings.
    3. Absorb some of the road pollution. I don't know if there are plants that can help "clean up" car exhaust, but that's why I am posting here - someone may know of something.
    We like maples and are wondering if there are any varieties that may fit the bill. We have also had suggested to us Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica), Lavatera and Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) as nice potential shrub additions. Whatever we choose, the would have to like full sun since the front of the house gets sun from 10am on in the summer.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, in advance.
    Clint
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Fencing and arbors. Plants take years to develop, how long do you want to wait? Probably best to install architectural features for immediate relief, then soften these and furnish enclosed spaces created with planting of comparatively restrained selections. Fast-growing plants tend to grow large. Regarding three suggested, Portugal laurel slow but large, dark and often weedy (reseeding). Lavatera is not very dense and short-lived, often treated as a perennial rather than a shrub. Butterfly bush is fast but rather rank, becoming classed as a pest species down here, where it is invading riparian ecosystems (as well as walls, road verges...).

    Where tallish screening desired outer coastal native Pacific wax myrtle (Myrica californica) is a good one, perky and easy with moderately upright habit and fairly fast growth. Native to stabilized sand dunes but seems to thrive on sopping clay in cultivation, at least on some sites (as at government locks, Ballard neighborhood of Seattle).
     
  3. Viet922

    Viet922 Member

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    I have a couple of suggestions:
    1) Smoke trees (Cotinus. regular kind) grow very fast. They can put out 15 feet in 1 year. One of the limitations of these trees is that they are not very tall at maturity. No more than 25 feet.
    2) Red maples (choose cultivars) for shade and Autumnal display. the drawback is that they are somewhat weak-wooded trees and tend to split in a the storm.
    3) Fast-growing evergreens such as Leyland cypress.
     
  4. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Do you have a city arborist? And if you are in a city with a tree program, do they have a recommended tree list; sometimes organized by size?
     
  5. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Yes, there are maples you can plant there that would work. Maples do not "clean up car exhaust," but some are more tolerant than others of urban pollution. Acer truncatum and Acer buergerianum are probably thought to be the most tolerant, the latter growing faster than the former. Acer griseum and Acer circinatum would work, especially if planted between the others and the house so that their bark benefits from the shade of the others. This combination, if it fits in the allotted space gives you various spring and autumn colors at different times. I like Ron's idea of a fence and arbor planted closest to the street for the benefit of privacy for the interim, while the trees grow, and for winter privacy. The winter sun in the main room may be rather welcome, but would the bare branches of the maples suffice for winter privacy? If you have any questions about any particular maple in general, feel free to post them in the Maples forum, where they will definitely be seen by maple enthusiasts, who may not wonder into this forum.
     
  6. Clint

    Clint Member

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. You're assistance is very much appreciated. The myrtle and smoke trees look especially promising. The suggestion of fencing is also a good one. I think we'll end up going with a combination of fencing, trees and shrubs to meet our goals.
     
  7. easygardeningsecrets.blogspot.

    easygardeningsecrets.blogspot. Member

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    Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) The Sycamore is one of the fastest growing of the larger shade trees. When mature it has an extremely large trunk and a wide-spread canopy, so be careful about when positioning this tree! It displays a mottled look of the bark on the mature sycamore as it begins to flake off in irregular pieces. It has moderate water requirements, and a moderate tolerance for salt and alkali soils.

    Sawtooth Oak (Quercus acutissima) This tree produces acorns in only 4 to 6 years. The Sawtooth has moderate water requirements and has a moderate tolerance to salt and alkali soils. At maturity, it'll grow to between 30 and 50 feet tall.

    Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)The Bald Cypress grows into a lofty, conical shape and displays attractive reddish brown fibrous bark. Moderate water requirements and tolerance for salt and alkali soils, this tree reaches heights of 50 to 75 feet.

    River Birch (Betula nigra) The bark of this tree is very distinctive. It has a light reddish brown cinnamon bark that peels and flakes once it matures, and like all the trees mentioned here it is a fast grower and a very pleasant shade tree. It will reach between 50 and 75 feet at maturity.

    Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Will grow to 30 to 50 feet heights, this tree displays attractive blooms in the spring and phenomenal scarlet color in the fall. Red Maples have low water requirements and are moderately tolerant of salt and alkali soils.

    Something that you may not have considered as far as a fast growing shrub are some of the decorative grasses. These can grow quite fast and provide alot of privacy.

    Hope that you find this information helpful. I have additional easy gardening advise on my website at www.easygardeningsecrets.blogspot.com Happy Planting!
     
  8. dmurchie

    dmurchie Member

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    Portuguese [cherry] laurel (Prunus lusitanica), a tree mentioned as being recommended, is listed by some agencies as an invasive species on Vancouver Island.

    If you are going to plant it, only do so in areas where it is not likely to spread to adjacent parks and wilderness. (It produces many berries which readily spread by hungry wildlife)
     
  9. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    Portuguese laurel does take pruning and I haven't notice flowers (and fruit and seeds) on a hedge. Plus I've seem some mature Portuguese laurels pruned very hard and recover. Smoke trees are very nice but tend to take up a lot of space.

    The problem with fast growing trees and shrubs is, as you've already identified, that they tend to have aggressive root systems and get spread. A solid fence would provide the screening, help with noise and take up less room. You could grow some beauiful vines on a fence. As for trees, I really like Katsura trees Cercidiphyllum japonicum.
     
  10. Alexiamei

    Alexiamei Member

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    How about planting a pyracanthus hedge? It is evergreen, it can grow tall if you let it, it has lovely white flowers in early summer and berries (red, orange or red depending on the variety) in late summer into winter. It is a bit slow to get going but once established it puts on a lot of growth each year.
    I am surprised to read that cotinus grows fast because my experience has been the opposite - it has taken mine three years to establish and this is the first year it has put on reasonable growth.
     
  11. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    It's not that cotinus grows that fast. I believe that it grows open and wide. I don't think that cotinus will provide the privacy and effective noise barrier. Pyracantha is an effective barrier (thorns) and has attractive winter berries. I agree with RonB suggestion to build a fence/arbour and chose plants to decorate the fence. Pyracantha and chamemoneles (flowering quince) can be trained to an espalier against the fence.
     
  12. Debby

    Debby Active Member 10 Years

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    I like the fence and arbor suggestion for immediate results. And vine maple, sunburst honey locust, weeping beech, and perhaps a flowering cherry and a fastigiate evergreen of some sort for contrasting form and colour. Then fill in with shrubs of interest: fothergilla, viburnum davidii, physocarpus (both diabolo and dart's gold). You don't need much lawn, if any lawn, in my opinion.
     

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