Fast growing Tree / ? suggestions for fence....

East Greenwich, RI

Im besides myself. For the past 10 days my neighbor has been taken down every single tree in their yard one by one. We used to have a stand of trees - a small forest - between the 2 properties and I couldnt even see their house. Now I am literally living in a fish bowl.

I really dont want to go down the way of arborvities. In some way it will be nice to have some extra sunlight in my yard (more daylilies!) but I dont want to be looking right into their all-glass living room from my house.

Any thoughts on ways to block the view? I thought about a Pergola which would help go a little higher than an unsightly fence...

What about a fast growing tree, preferably something that flowers and is a big fat ball of leaves.?

Beautiful, BC(Zone 8b)

hmmm. At this point, I'd say, "photos say a thousand words". Do you have a fence between the properties, what other trees are between the properties, etc. Lots of questions. Photos really help to give a good picture of the problem so we can come up with possible solutions. I can think of lots of possible solutions but have no idea if they are practical in your application.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Here's a link to someone who had to deal with a similar (but not precisely the same) predicament. There are some useful tips in there; it's worth a read.

I agree with growin, too - pictures speak volumes and save a lot of typing.

Helps to include the link!

This message was edited Jul 10, 2013 4:11 PM

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

A starter, off the cuff response to your question would be Leyland Cypress. You're not getting the flowers but you will get a quick, dense tree that will be green all year. It's better than an arborvitae. You might also try a Southern Magnolia if you have location sheltered from the drying NW winds. There you get flowering and evergreen. They aren't super fast growers up in the northeast though.

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

To block my view of a neighbor's pool I planted a strategically- placed Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis) with beautiful results. I was surprised it did so well in the Deep South. Wish I had a photo of the scrawny 18 inch seedling I got from mail order. It really took off!

Thumbnail by passiflora_pink
Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Wow...that's a nicer specimen of Hemlock than you usually see up here even.

Dallas, TX

passiflora - how long did it take to grow from the scrawny 18 inch seedling to the beautiful specimen pictured above? Also, what type of light is it getting?

Central, AL(Zone 8a)

Took awhile to find the info. I planted it in April, 2002.

It is in full sunlight most of the day. I obtained several seedlings at the time from Musser Forests. Some did not survive deer and other traumas. Another tree planted in a shady area is still growing but not nearly as filled out -- will try to post a pic later of the difference.

The nice hemlock was planted directly in the lawn which has thick grass but I kept it mulched. Now it provides its own mulch.

It is downhill from a septic field. Dunno if that has made a difference!

I love the tree and it is a favorite nesting spot for birds and shelter for rabbits. A lot of my plantings have been disappointments but this one turned out right!

This message was edited Sep 8, 2013 7:05 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Our hpuse was stared into from all four sides, and we could see out all four sides, because there was a house to the north, an alley to the east, an easement with a sidewalk to the south, and a sidewalk to the west. And people who didn't respect your privacy.

In other words, similar problem. People in the grey house to the north had tons of money but no window coverings for three years. They enjoyed staring out the windows and watching us eat in our sunroom.

Solution number one:

Crabapple, Cotinus Grace, Viburnum prunifolium. There are also viburnums to the right and a Yoshino cherry way down to the left, but they are not there for that purpose. Picture 1.

That took care of them.

Another neighbor on the west almost literally lived in his driveway and would and and stare though out kitchen windows. Miscanthus giganteous. Not only blocked his view of the windows but of most of the house. Got that big in three years (I'm growing another one now). You have to cut it in spring, but it jumps out of the ground. And it's cheap because it's a perennial. Picture 2

To the east. Ornamental grasses. There are three: Bluttenwunder, Silberfeder, strictus. There is a patio, a table seating 8, and 8 chairs behind it. There was a house behind ours and an alley where people, for whatever reason, liked to take their evening walks and stare at us. Picture 3.

To the west. This works great too. Huge rose on an arbor. Yep, an entire patio set as mentioned above is behind it. There was an easement on another side of the property with a sidewalk, and out next door neighbors on the other side would pull up all their shades and turn on their interior lights too, so you could see in. They complained that they could not see into our house. Picture 4.

Also to the west. Longer term solution of you have the patience. Lilacs. There is a deck to the left of the pic, and it covered the windows but admitted plenty of light. Picture 5

Hope this helps. It worked for us.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh yes, myrica pennsylvania. Northern Bayberry. Requires acidic soil, so we had to add iron. But we could sit on our front porch all year without being stared at. Fast growing. Healthy. Birds love it. And it can be pruned to any shape.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Central, AL(Zone 8a)

Wow, Creepy neighbors, Donna! But beautiful solutions.

This message was edited Sep 17, 2013 11:55 AM

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you. They certainly helped me to become creative.

Absolutely creepy. Avoid Prairie Crossing in Grayslake Illinois. As much as I loved the house and yard, we moved. When a development advertises itself as a "community" it sometimes attracts people who move there because of their inability to form relationships in the past. We knew the developers, who lured us in.

On the other hand, if we hadn't lived in Creepville, I never would have known how much I love to garden.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Donna, are your bayberries evergreen? You mentioned being able to sit on the front porch all year long without being seen...

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

No, but the branches were numerous and quite tall. And in the winer, people are less likely to be strolling around. And because they sucker, if one declines you can simply pull it out and the others will take over. It is also very amenable to being pruned. Ours were 9 feet high (bless their little hearts) but lots of people keep them at five feet or quite bit less.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ok, thanks I was just wondering. I love bayberries, you can smell them when you walk past sometimes.

Dallas, TX

Do a little research before you spend your money. There are many trees (not ALL trees) that might be fast growers but also fall in the category of 'trash trees'.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

TX is right, of course. My suggestion is that, after picking the few you might want, to go to the library and go on line and research anything you are considering. Definitely use multiple resources. Be particularly careful of amateur or commercial websites. Trees are often praised by individuals who live in a different climate or have different soil than you have. Some are praised by "boosters" who have a sentimental attachment to the them despite flaws that they will downplay. Others have commercial interests that they will not disclose.

It's an expensive decision with long term consequences.

Dallas, TX

Agree with DonnaMack. But after re-reading your initial post, isn't there some old saying about living in glass houses (or living rooms)? Sorry. Just a frivolous thought. :D

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


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