Hi PNW peeps! Wondering if any of you have recommendations for fast growing screen trees or bushes for our area. I'm in zone 8 at the coast, but far enough from the ocean that I think I could plant just about anything that would do well elsewhere. I'm thinking something along the lines of cypress, something that will grow tall but not spread out too much. They will be planted along a fence and so protected from the wind, at least until they get larger.
PNW screening tree?
I am certainly no expert in this, since most things I plant get too big for their spot, and the fast growers become ungainly rapidly....but I have a fast growing birch tree that I really like. Betula ermanii. It has pretty bark., brownish pink. I have heard Picea omorika is a narrow growing evergreen, though they get really tall. Also, there are some Ginkgos that are fastigate form, and can be absolutely beautiful in the Fall, with interesting foliage the rest of the year.
Ginkos, what a great idea! Thanks for the suggestions mauryhiil!
I have not needed to do this, but I do have a few ideas if you do not need it to get too tall.
Last summer I planted a hybrid Manzanita with red-purple bark, upright growth, called Arctostaphylos x densiflora 'Sentinel'. It survived our bitter winter without a murmur, and put on 30" new growth this year! The label says to 6 feet tall in several years, but it went from 2.5 feet to 5 feet in 12 months, so I am thinking waaaay taller now. Should be seriously easy as it is super drought tolerant native.
Ceanothus also seems super easy. There are two in my yard that were there when I moved in, now are little trees about 10-12 feet tall. I think they are the 'Victoria' cultivar but do not know for sure. Also totally drought tolerant and hardy. I planted some 'Julia Phelps' that are doing well but are more wide and shrubby, but grow fast. I love blue flowers.
A few years ago I thought about using Camellia 'Winter's Snowman', a white flowered cultivar from Monrovia, supposed to get 12 feet tall, 5 feet wide. I couldn't find any, and planted something else, but I liked the idea of a long hedge of this. And Camellias can be pruned.
Let us know what you decide.
Very plain, common and dull, but fast-growing and some are narrow:
Arborvitae / Thuja.
The tall narrow cones seem to be called American Arborvitae:
This Snohomish site offers a comparison chart for “privacy trees”
This message was edited Sep 25, 2014 1:29 PM
Thanks for the additional suggestions, I will check them all out. And the comparison chart will be very helpful!
And remember to water them until their roots are established. Or maybe South Beach is on the wet side of the mountains? "Beach" sounds coastal ...
I am indeed on the coast, about 500 feet from the beach. But we still get plenty of rain.
I've been researching all the suggestions, which led me to Pittosporum undulatum - Victorian Box. This grows all over Los Angeles where I used to live and it smells heavenly when it blooms in the early spring. I was very surprised to see that it grows in zone 8! Our plant files here on DG say zone 9, but all the nurseries say zone 8, and I'm willing to give it a try as I would sure love to experience that scent again.
About a month ago I planted a Pittosporum tobira 'variegata' an impulse purchase. I just loved the leaves. I hope it smells nice, and that it is hardy. Plantfiles shows it is hardy in Bellingham, so I have high hopes!
Sounds like I might want to get on this bandwagon! What's the growth potential?
Well this is a bit unclear. The nursery I got the variegated one from from had some older specimens in perhaps 16" pots, about 7-8 feet tall, looking very vigorous and like they might like to grow much taller. They had been pruned as little trees. They were selling starts in 1 gallon pots, each had been topped at about 2 feet, with 2 super vigorous sprouts from there. They look cutting grown, so I may try that myself! If you look on the web, you find height listed as anywhere from 3 feet to 10 feet! I do see they can tolerate either sand or clay. They do not like a cold dry wind, but supposedly tolerate seaside planting. They look rather prunable, but I don't know if that is commonly done. Per websites, they like full to part sun. I will let you know how mine does.
On Pittosporum undulatum: "The Victorian box grows very rapidly, gaining as much as 2 or 3 feet of height in a single season. As it generally tops out at around 35 feet, this means it is capable of reaching its full height in as few as 10 years. Unlike some quickly growing trees, its branches do not become weak as a consequence, but still are moderately strong. The Victorian box can live for between 50 and 150 years, so it spends most of its life at its full height."
Not sure if the other varieties have the scented blossoms. The Victorian Box will grow into a large tree if left unpruned.
I decided to go with Pittosporum undulatum – Victorian Box. I'm very excited that I found both a seller and that this will grow in my area. As I mentioned, when I live in SoCal, in Hollywood, these grew all over in the hills and in the early spring the evenings would be filled with their heavenly scent. It's kind of a magic tree for me. :-) I have always hoped that when I finally landed somewhere permanently that I could plant this tree. Here are a couple of pics of my new baby. And a "before" picture of the corner where I planted it. You might remember that we moved into a place with 1/3 acre of 15 years of blackberry growth; it's all been cleared and we just had a fence put around the entire property. So now I get to start planting my permanent garden! Whoo hoo!!
Oh, here's the nursery I bought it from: http://www.forestfarm.com/product.php?id=7360