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Yankee_in_TX

Need tree suggestion

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The bungalow behind us is now 3 story townhomes. They ripped out all of the trees.

What is something we can plant along the fence that will grow high, be low maintenance and not take over?

We'd like some kind of sight barrier back...

Ideas are appreciated!

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I am planning to put in bamboo along my driveway to block a rather plain wall in my back yard. Before you freak out, remember that there are dozens of varieties of bamboo. They grow to various heights, from 10-12 feet to over 50 feet (these might be good for the 3 story townhomes). You can get "clumping" or "non-clumping" varieties. The non-clumping bamboos are the ones that do not go crazy. The shoots come out of a rootball and do not put out runners. You can keep it in a fairly small place.

Here is a website to give you an idea what you can do.

http://www.bamboohq.com/clumping-non-invasive-bamboos-1/

Bamboo will give your yard a somewhat tropical look and feel, but since this is Houston, there is not a thing wrong with that. Plus, it grows quickly, so the townhomes will be hidden fairly quickly.

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I am planning to put in bamboo along my driveway to block a rather plain wall in my back yard. Before you freak out, remember that there are dozens of varieties of bamboo. They grow to various heights, from 10-12 feet to over 50 feet (these might be good for the 3 story townhomes). You can get "clumping" or "non-clumping" varieties. The non-clumping bamboos are the ones that do not go crazy. The shoots come out of a rootball and do not put out runners. You can keep it in a fairly small place.

Here is a website to give you an idea what you can do.

http://www.bamboohq.com/clumping-non-invasive-bamboos-1/

Bamboo will give your yard a somewhat tropical look and feel, but since this is Houston, there is not a thing wrong with that. Plus, it grows quickly, so the townhomes will be hidden fairly quickly.

 

Agreed. Bamboo is a beautiful choice.

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I planted ligustrum along my back fence. It'll take a few years, but they will grow to 15-20 feet and hopefully block out the McMansion that towers over my property.

 

I planted them 1 year ago and they've already grown 2 feet.

 

The other nice thing is you can prune ligustrum to look like a shrub or a tree to fit your needs. 

 

My sister has bamboo to solve a similar problem (block a view of an ugly 4 story garage addition her neighbors added) but it gets messy and she had to replant quite a bit after a hard freeze a couple of years ago.

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if you have sinus problems don't plant ligustrum you will regret it.  not sure what "not take over" meant but most trees should meet your criteria.

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In this situation I would probably plant a fairly tight row of dwarf magnolias - they are heat and cold tolerant, stay fairly compact in width, and will grow to 20-30 ft tall. Once filled out, they provide a nice green year-round visual barrier. I like the look of bamboo also, but I recall a lot of bamboo turning brown and dying back during the freeze a few years ago.

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You can consider planting the empress tree(paulownia). Its growth rate per year is 15-20 feet and grows upto 50 feet. You can enjoy its fragrant and colourful blooms when it grows fully.  

 

Paulownia trees are widely advertised in magazines by mail-order nurseries. They are considered invasive and are not recommended by reputable landscape designers or gardening experts in our area.

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One thing you'll have to factor in is sun exposure.  Another is how much area you have for what the full sized plant will occupy.

 

I have neighbors who are overly fond of backyard lighting, so I planted some full sized yaupons along my back fence.  They're native to the area, so pretty much bulletproof.  It took a while, but the ones with good sun exposure are now roughly 20'.  Some of them also have nice red berries, and they can also be shaped to a tree form to allow understory planting, and don't mind being cut back to being wider than they are deep, while still providing a pretty good screen.

 

If you've got the room and the sun, oleanders can also get pretty big, and flower early and often.  They can be susceptible to freeze, though.

 

If the yard is big enough, you can go with some sort of tree or three closer to the house, with some sort of hedge towards the back.  I've got a pineapple guava trained to a tree form about half way between a living room window and the upstairs windows next door.  It's evergreen, has interesting blooms, and a decent screen.

 

Stay away from cherry laurel.  It's not native, it's invasive, and it's prone to suddenly dying for no apparent reason.

Edited by mollusk

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Italian cypress planted closely together is another possibility.  We planted 5 close together to screen a side patio from the neighbors yard.  It's not a 100% view block but it's pretty good.  The do need full sun to grow the fastest, though.

 

48325d1252161512-how-trim-italian-cypres

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 Oh I see. How about Leyland Cypress? 

 

Texas has 6 or 7 different climate zones. Before you decide to plant anything, you should do some research on the Texas A&M website to see what trees, etc., are best for your purposes in the part of Texas where you live.

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I like the look of Italian Cypress. They don't grow all over the place. Japanese Yews and Japanese Blueberry trees are nice. The last one has changing leaves, red to green, and very hardy. I had good luck with it here.  It grows to a medium height. The zone statement is so true. Pay attention to that and the shade vs sun factor. 

 

I've seen many trees stripped for townhouses. It's a shame, some are very old.

 

Edited by NenaE

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Seeing the bump on invasives just brought a couple more things to mind...

 

If there is a good sized, independent nursery nearby, they can be an excellent resource.  In particular, I'd wander by on a weekday if possible, since there will be fewer other customers to distract whomever you are consulting.  (Jeepers, I miss Teas.)

 

If you somehow have a hook to get into a local wholesale nursery, that can be a great resource.  

 

Also, even though this has so far been a relatively mild summer with a good amount of rain, I wouldn't plant anything bigger than bedding until we get into September and the first cool front comes through.  Transplanting even container grown trees stresses them, and August's typical heat and dryness only add to that.

 

Evergreens aren't quite as big a deal, but the ideal time to plant something big is when it's dormant, i.e., when the leaves are off.

 

Most nurseries are not adding much, if any stock by this time of year.  They will have big sales come October or so to make room for Christmas trees; after that the new stock will begin to arrive.  Bargains can be had during those sales if you know what to look for.  If you manage to wait for arrival of the new stock, hold off a bit more until after Valentine's to get past what is usually the last chance for frost in these parts.

 

Whatever you buy, make sure that you've got an accurate estimate of how big it's going to get - not only how tall, but how wide, too - and what it will look like when it gets to that stage.  I had a neighbor who ended up with a nearly impenetrable jungle because she just couldn't grok that plants actually, like, y'know, grow.  When she moved away, the new folks had several weekends' worth of chainsaw parties - and five years later we're still trying to eradicate the remnants of the giant elephant ears.  Another neighbor though that a ligustrum hedge would look just dandy in the 18" gap between the house and the driveway.  Within a few years they were pruning almost every other week at times, and one side of the car looked like it had been in a minor accident or something.

 

Likewise, and I know I've already mentioned this, but remember light requirements.  Goofy neighbor #1 also got royally ticked off at me because a tree in my yard (that had been there for years) cast too much shade for her roses to flourish (shoot, even live) in the place she wanted to put them.

 

Good luck.

Edited by mollusk

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I used Bambusa "Ventricosa" or Buddha's Belly Bamboo.

 

It is not invasive.  The foot print is about 12' in diameter. Grows to 50' tall and has a weeping canopy so you need very few specimens to cover a huge area.  I used 6 to block 250 feet of neighbors!   

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I used Bambusa "Ventricosa" or Buddha's Belly Bamboo.

 

It is not invasive.  The foot print is about 12' in diameter. Grows to 50' tall and has a weeping canopy so you need very few specimens to cover a huge area.  I used 6 to block 250 feet of neighbors!   

 

There's two types of buddha belly bamboo, so be careful to ask for the genus type, and not the common name, as they are both different in how they grow.

 

http://www.guaduabamboo.com/species/bambusa-vulgaris-wamin

 

 

http://www.bamboogarden.com/Bambusa%20ventricosa.html

 

I have the wamin buddha belly in my backyard. it hasn't grown over 3 feet yet, hopefully as more shoots pop up it will get to at least 6 or 7 feet as the plan was for it to create some shade, since I put it in the middle of the patio with this purpose. the culms are very distinctive. the mess of leaves is also very real.

 

as far as local nursuries.. I really like caldwell and maas both are about an hour drive from downtown are, but. both have staff that are very attentive regardless of when I go, and they are both very big, so it's unlikely that they won't have what you are looking for.

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To begin with, if you are interested in fast growth, I suggest that you buy well-rooted plants instead of seeds.  You can find them at most plant nurseries in your area, and they will give you a major jump start, since all trees grow relatively slowly. 

 

I’ll give you a short list of plants that might work for you.  Some are evergreen, others drop their leaves in winter.  Many of these plants are considered deer resistant, but deer are likely to still eat them when they are starving or when the plant is putting on new growth.  If you have a deer problem you may need to place a fence around each plant.

Check out these tree species on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center's Plant Database by clicking on their name. A mix of evergreen and deciduous trees might be best.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen, has pretty red berries and makes a good wildlife plant. It is a great plant to use in a hedge because it grows dense and twiggy.  But it grows slowly so you would have to be very patient.  You can usually only buy female plants. You need at least one male plant to have berries.
These are pretty trought tolerant after they get established but like a little more water than some others.
Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is a fast growing solution.  It is among the few plants of the shrubs and trees I raised that never had deer damage.  It will grow into a large shrubs if you encourage it.  It is evergreen and requires male and female plants to make the fragrant berries. Once established, it is drought and flood tolerant.
Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)  is another plant deer have never eaten.  Even the smallest seedlings seem safe from the deer. And I like the grape koolaid fragrance of the blooms.  It prefers part sun but I’ve also seen it successfully grown in full sun. However it is quite slow growing and very expensive to buy large plants.
Leucaena retusa (Goldenball leadtree) is a gorgous evergreen tree  with blooms that look like fluffy yellow balls. It grows in sun or part shade – blooms April to October, but needs a rather dry rocky spot.  Deer will eat the leaves.
Hesperocyparis arizonica (Arizona cypress) is a beautiful, fast-growing evergreen that is used for windbreaks.  It grows 30-40 feet tall and 15 -20 feet wide.  
Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)  This tree can be used as a screen.  In the formal garden at the Wildflower Center, one is kept sheared and has the shape of an Arizona cypress. And here is an article that tells you how to transplant it from the wild.  Just be sure you have permission from the landowner. Deer never seem to eat it.

Other trees/shrubs that should work for you include Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), Cornus florida (Flowering dogwood), Ilex opaca (American holly), Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac), Ilex decidua (Possumhaw),and Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

 

Fall and winter are the best times to plant trees.  Fill the planting holes with water a couple of times and let it drain out just before planting.  Water once a week (every week without rain) for the first spring and summer months after you plant and then water deeply at least once a month (or two weeks after a 1-2 inch  rain) for the first year.  The second year, I usually just look at the plants.  If they look a little droopy, I water deeply.  And if we don’t get rain for several weeks, I water as a matter of course.  And always water slowly and deeply.  I always build a little moat around the plantings so I can fill it with water which will soak down around the plant.  I like to use either a soaker hose, or an individual 5 gallon bucket for each tree or shrub.  Put a tiny hole in the bucket and set it next to the tree/shrub and fill.  You could water a few of your trees/shrubs each day with this method.  But a soaker hose along a line of plants works great as well. And be sure and mulch to conserve water and keep the roots cool. Just keep the mulch about 6 inches from the trunk.

 

Make sure to employ proper tree trimming practices to shape your young trees.

Edited by HoustonTreeService

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