Hedges: Hedge Help

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by cedarrookie, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. cedarrookie

    cedarrookie Member

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    Since resurrecting our beautiful Princess Pink Escalonia hedge after it died back to nothing during a tough winter two years ago, this winter appeared too much for it and it is dead, dead, dead. No chance to resurrect this time :(
    We are looking at Cedar this time. The hedge will be planted North/South between two houses and along a walkway, thus against a four foot chainlink fence. I have read here not to plant near a walkway that will be treated with salt during the winter. This will not be a problem.
    The question is, which Cedar? Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'? Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra'? Thuja occidentalis 'Pyramidalis'? I don't want too much spread as we are on a small lot and would like to maximize what little space we have. The escalonia were in planter boxes. I'm assuming (and yes, I know what that makes) I should rip out the planter boxes (cedar) and plant the cedars right in the ground? Looking for a quick hedge, but a lasting one too. Must .... have ..... privacy. Love my neighbours but feel like we are in a fishbowl at the moment.
    Thanks so much. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Quickest relief would be provided by a fence. Quick hedges messy, overwhelming etc. In the case of the escallonia the etc. included it being tender. Slow hedges produce higher quality growth but take many years to develop. Compact, columnar arborvitaes like the ubiquitous 'Smaragd' (Emerald) belong to this latter group. How long do you want to wait for something that grows 6"-12" per year to grow tall?

    You can get these 5' tall for 20 bucks at big box stores, but beware of them having been allowed to dry out or other pitfalls when shopping. And 20 bucks per unit adds up quick when you are planting them close together, like rivets.

    Big conifers like Western Red Cedar and Leyland Cypress that shoot up quick also want to grow 100' tall. If you don't mind annual shearing, then that is a way to get a quick living fence.

    Just don't fall behind on the trimming.
     
  3. cedarrookie

    cedarrookie Member

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    Hmmmmm. Well, the fence option is out. I have enjoyed my living fence, with all that comes with it, for 9+years. It's unfortunate that the big snows and winds have been so hard on it. I really did like the evergreen escallonia.
    That being said, I'm not in need of a monster hedge. 6-8' would do. We trimmed the escallonia twice a year keeping it 5-6' high, so we aren't afraid of shearing. We are looking at having someone remove the escallonia roots, and planting the cedars. They will likely supply the shrubs themselves. Can I expect a landscaper to have access to 5' tall, good quality trees? Is it likely they may buy from big box stores? Would you suggest I go with a garden centre/nursery instead? I'm not wanting to spend a fortune, but you certainly get what you pay for. Five feet would give us an instant filter from the eyes that stroll the walk.
    How far apart should they be planted? I have heard of staggering for airflow and light so they fill in faster.
    Lots of questions, hence my username :) Thanks
     
  4. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm sure the landscaper would be able to obtain any size plants you want -- though you'd almost certainly be paying more than the bargain price that you could get from a big box. I'd say the only way to resolve this is to talk to a couple of landscapers and get some actual quotes.
     
  5. cedarrookie

    cedarrookie Member

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    Of course. This has always been my plan, but I want to be able to insist on one type of plant over another if one is superior for my needs.
     

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