blackeyedsusan
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:48 am
Location: Iowa

New patio in need of privacy

Hi, I am new here. I need advice. I have poured a patio and now need a bit of privacy. I have been told, plant arborvitae, but I am not a fan and am looking at making a hedge out of hemlocks. I have some great looking Hemlocks to plant. Okay idea and when do I prune these? thanks!

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

It depends. If you want new growth look then prune back over the winter but if you want the sheared look prune after new growth, late spring/early summer. Healthy hemlock do have pine cones, small but can be a pain. Good choice. Don't forget to amend the soil and a handful of bonemeal.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hemlock likes a loose woodsy soil, not something I remember being much associated with Iowa. While I am not a great fan of lots of soil amendment I think it would be best for this particulat tree. It is native to my home area and I always find it in rich soils...

When I find it, as the wooly adelgid have made a mess of this tree in my area. Hasn't spread out to you just yet, but I suspect it will...

I have an old hemlock hedge on one side of the yard and my new(ish) arborvitae hedge on the other. The latter needs less pruning and less spraying, but I understand you don't like the look...

As a patio will not see much winter use, does it need to be evergreen? Some grasses are very large and make a lovely sound as winds move through; cooling in a different sort of way. Panicum 'Northwind' is tight and 'Cloud Nine' gets to be (an airy) seven or eight feet. Deciduous screens like ninebark would work well and offer great color; 'Diablo' is a nice red foliage form, and there are golds as well. The English loved "tapestry hedges" in the middle ages, where they would use different plants in a hedge, which might be interesting and NOT monocultural. A mix of shrubs, bushes and trees would be more valuable to wildlife as well as offering visual barrier, and would be more garden like than just a hedge...

Just a thought...

HG
Scott Reil

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

The problem with arborvitae is snow. Because of its growth habit snow can wreck havoc on the branches. Personally I like the fine habit of hemlock. I live in the city and planted hemlock from the mountains, people said I was clueless, but in fact they were, since I don't dig holes for plants that will die. The only problem with a plant screen is you need plenty of room for when they age, but no so with a fence which is clean looking with plants in front. However you accomplish your goal I am certain you'll be happy with the outcome.

User avatar
kasimac
Full Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 2:57 pm
Location: Maine or New York

Hemlock is a beautiful tree, and I have seen hedges that have been hemlocks, they are normally large hedges, since the tree has to exhibit some growth.

Though I would keep an eye out for the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid, an introduced insect which is taking out hemlocks just about everywhere, except in places such as Maine, where it just gets too darn cold for em.

I'm not an expert on it, so I'm not sure if they found any resistant strains of Hemlock, but people may have a solution for it in the next 5-10 years.
Certain strains of Ladybugs, as well as japanese lady bugs are being bred to combat the adelgid, so far it seems promising.
"Wait.. his character is the last remnant of this elven culture?... Sigh*
Even though we hate him guys, we MUST protect the gene pool!"

I feel the same way about plants : )

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

My arbs look great and there was no shortage of snow this year; I just truss 'em up near the apex with sisal twine and tuck it back in the branches so you can't see it. Looks great and keeps the snow from splaying them out. On the other hand the old hemlok hedge needs a big pruning every year, spraying for adelgid at least once and sometimes twice a year (hort oil, so not that bad but still an expense) and finally arbs are much cheaper than hemlock and not as likely to windburn...

Fences can act like planes wings, increasing wind speeds on the opposite side (6 ft. out from a 6 ft. fence, a ten mile an hour wind can gust to twenty) Plants diminish wind speed by diffusion, so no wing effect AND it has been shown that average wind speeds in an area decrease with increased forestation, so plants REALLY slow the breeze in a nice way, allowing circulation but still softening the breeze. Fences are the solution in really tight spaces and urban settings where wind does not have long fetches to pick up speed, but if you have the room plants are usually cheaper and prettier...

HG
Scott Reil

blackeyedsusan
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:48 am
Location: Iowa

What should I add to the soil?

Thanks very much to everyone for your wonderful advice! I am going ahead with the hemlocks along a shadier spot (these are free, so I feel I want to give them a go). I plan to do Arbs (maybe pyramid) in the sun. I think I will have room for one or two, but am hoping for a very compact growing variety. Any ideas? Also, with the hemlocks...what should I add to the soil? And...what will I need to spray on them to keep that wooly creature away?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Hey BES

Make sure you amend your soil for those hemlocks; I would probably trench the area to be hedged and mix soil right in the trench. Add ectomycorrhizae and some soil from their original spot to help with rooting...you are safe from the adelgid for a few years but it is spreading... we are working here in CT with a beetle release (natural predator) that seems promising, but I always think of the old woman who swallowed a fly when we start that sort of thing... we think the beetle's predators are already here; lots of European birds in this neck of the woods...

As for Arbs, the two I see most are Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra' (sometimes called Dark American Arborvitae) and Thuja occidentalis 'Emerald Green' (with the lovely plant registration of 'Smargd') Mike Dirr thinks the "Pyramidalis' cultivar is likely a "catch all term", and I suspect he's right. If you need replacements down the road, best to have a specific cultivar you can feel assured of getting matches for... 'Emerald Green' are greener, shorter and tighter, which is why I chose them for my yard, with Dark Americans getting much larger and looser later in life. Frankly if I was leaning towards the look of Dark Americans I would likely choose 'Techny', sometimes called 'Mission', for the shorter, tighter habit, and better hardiness...

HG
Scott Reil

blackeyedsusan
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:48 am
Location: Iowa

My patio looks great!

So, it has been a few months since my last post, asking all your advice on what to plant around my patio for some privacy. My plan was to plant a hedge of hemlocks. Some advised using arbovitae, some advised grasses. So, I used it all! I have a few hemlocks (I added a woodsy soil mix), a few arbs, 2 hydrangea, and a few grasses. I also planted several climbing things, clematis, mandevilla, sweet peas. Then filled in with perennials and annuals. I also threw some container gardens around. Thanks for all the suggenstions!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

sounds beautiful!

Sounds beautiful! What a great solution! You should post a few pictures.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”