Agonizing over tree selection

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by Xtina, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    Hi all,

    I've been agonizing over tree selection for my backyard for about a year or two now. I recently lost my filbert tree to verticillium wilt. Before the tree died, I had a big problem with the view out the back windows: we have a terribly ugly apartment complex right behind our house! But the tree masked part of it and I was willing to live with the rest of it. Once the tree died, I had every excuse to plant away, but I really am having a hard time finding something appropriate. I want a lovely screen of trees that masks the apartments in a continuous way during in the warm months. I do not want something evergreen, nor something huge that will break up the concrete behind the fence, nor something so heavily leafy that will completely shade out the sunshine our south-facing yard offers us for summer gardening. So in a sense, I'm not looking for something that totally blocks them out, but which allows for diffuse sunlight coming through a lightly leafy canopy. It must also be resistant to verticillium, be safe for hens, not make any nasty odors, or cause any other terrible problems (like tons of pollen or cottonwood fluff). It should be tall enough to screen out the apartment roofs, but not have such a huge trunk that they will completely overtake the chicken run. The trees should have an oval, vase, or excurrent shape so that they create a nice even screen. The shape needs to be sort of compact so that the branches don't reach over too far into the apartment's alleyway. It would be even better if they made beautiful spring flowers, fall leaves, or made a good habitat for birds. Here, I will attach a cheesy sketch of what the yard looks like:

    [​IMG]

    And here is what I would like it to look like when the trees are planted.

    [​IMG]
    Here is a list of verticillium-resistant trees: http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdiseas...ants-resistant-or-susceptible-verticillium-wi

    Is there any tree expert here who can help me out? I know I'm asking for the moon and stars! I believe the right tree is out there, but the problem is so boggling for me, with so many details, that I'm having a really hard time so I thought I'd ask for help.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    How tall do you want these trees to get? How much are you willing to spend? I'd suggest that you run, not walk to your nearest plant nursery with your wish list, and have them help you pick out your trees. The longer you wait to make the perfect decision, the longer it will take those saplings to put on some size. Most likely, you're looking at 10+ years before anything you plant has much for size to do what you want it to do.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, talk to a local tree expert. What does well for me here probably won’t do that great in your climate and location. All gardening is local. A local nursery (not a big box store nursery) is a great suggestion. Or contact your local Master Gardeners. You can probably get in touch with them through your county extension office.

    I called my county extension office to ask about which varieties of peonies do well here. They put me in touch with a local expert that told me more about peonies than most people would ever want to know. And I’m set up in spring to go see his selection so I can select which ones I want when they are blooming. Some county extension offices are better than others but that is a free resource that is greatly underutilized.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    That's a great idea: the county extension. I often forget them as an option. Great place to start. I might add that a nursery may not be the best bet in getting trees that will excel. They often sell trees that are potted... ie: pot bound. Also, a nursery is likely to push the stuff they have in stock, not necessarily what is the best plant for you. Your better bet is to do your research, and then find a place that will sell young bare root trees. They will cost a fraction of a potted tree. Yes, you'll start out with a smaller tree, and they don't look like much to start. But IMO, 3 years later, your bare root tree will be as big or bigger than the potted tree that cost 3 times as much. Be sure you find a quality nursery if you go mail order... which is just about the only option when going bare root.
     

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