treelover
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:48 pm
Location: princeton nj

landscaping in NJ

hi,
I live in PLAINSBORO NJ. I want to put in good trees in our new home which has very little trees in the back becoz it has a utility drain at the end of our backyard. i reaally need help regarding what plants are good for planting there (mainly large trees for privacy). Also advice on what kind of trees and shrubs etc are good for planting in the back and front yards. I and my husband really like the autumn blaze maple. is it good for new jersey?? also please give me advice on where can i find great deals on trees plants etc in nj. i am a gardening and landscape novice as i have only lived in appartments before. so low maintainence is what i am looking for.
thanks

gumbo2176
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Not exactly sure what a "utility drain" is but if things electric, gas, phone,cable or sanitation related are in that area, you better get representatives of those companies to let you know where underground lines may be located.

The last thing you want to do is tear up any utilities while digging holes for a tree. Of course, the size of the hole is dependent on the size of the tree when planted.

I've not planted many trees except the fruit bearing kind but I once lived in a house that had Silver Leaf Maples planted near our property line in my neighbors yard. Those trees grew fairly fast and they dropped all their leaves in the fall which made quite a mess for a few weeks. Also, the limbs were not as strong as an oak or slower growing trees. Almost every year a few limbs would break off or split at the trunk if we had high winds. I've always heard the faster a tree grows, the weaker the limbs and from my experience, it sounds reasonable.

Crepe Myrtle is a nice tree that has very colorful flowers every year. In our area most folks with these trees trim them back very severely in early fall. When they come back in the spring, they send off tons of new shoots that have clusters of flowers. Not much smell to them, but they do look nice.

How about Pampas Grass or Bamboo for a natural fence? I sent some bamboo home with a friend in Bloomington, Indiana and it is growing at his place. It does die back every winter but recovers real quick in the spring and summer.

Yellowsnow
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Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:52 pm
Location: SC PA 6b

Leyland Cypress are great for a Green Fence and privacy. Very hardy in many soil conditions, evergreen, and very dense. Not maintenance needed really unless there is an obvious problem.

Maples are wonderful for shade trees. They do grow large so make sure you have the room. Autumn Blaze is a hardy maple and should grow fine in your area.

You may have to get permission to plant near the culvert. HOA's and county regulations may limit what you can and cannot do. Look into that first before planting. A local Nursery should have the trees and other ideas for you area. Certain shrubs do well in shade or sun and you should plant accordingly. A nursery would be a very good resource for that kind of info.

WildcatNurseryman
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Location: Lexington, KY.

Two of my very favorites for privacy are two fast growing evergreens-Yoshino Cryptomeria and Green Giant Western Arborviate. Both grow quickly and don't have such a wide footprint like Norway Spruce or some of the other more commonly planted evergreens. Leylands may be a little too far North for you, and I have seen problems with snow-load ripping them right out of the ground. They seem to outgrow their own root-systems.
The Autumn Blaze you mentioned is an excellant shade-tree. It is fast growing but unlike most fast growing deciduous trees it hasn't had the storm damage and ice damage that I see in some others. I have three 15+ year-old AB's and they have impressed me.
I highly recommend the two evergreens I mentioned. Haven't planted one yet that the customer wasn't thrilled with.

Yellowsnow
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Location: SC PA 6b

Leylands are one of the most popular evergreen trees in PA landscapes. I have not witnessed any snow or ice damage, and have only seen them ripped from the ground by drunk drivers. Not sure how those Kentucky winters are compared to PA, but it sounds like Nome Alaska or something.

Hinoki cypresses is another good one for the NJ area. Doesn't grow as big as the Leyland. Both grow at a moderate rate. Super Fast growing usually = short lifespan.

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rainbowgardener
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Wow... so many choices! You mentioned privacy, so mostly you've been getting evergreen suggestions, which give year round privacy. For evergreen, I agree with the suggestion of Thujia (arborvitae), very fast growing, easy, privacy screen.

But you also mentioned maples which are not evergreen. If you are looking for deciduous landscape trees, there's a ton of choices. Flowering trees are gorgeous in the landscape. That would include all the prunus varieties, cherry, plum, chokecherry, etc, plus crabapple and others. Magnolias are large leafed and large flowered and very striking. Tulip poplars turn in to very tall straight trees with beautiful tulip like flowers. The classic shade tree is the oak (many varieties). They aren't the fastest growers, but very hardy. I have an oak tree I planted as a tiny baby maybe 8 -9 years ago and it is now about 12' tall. Nut trees, like hickory/walnut are great for feeding the animals. Hackberry is super easy, it is a weed tree where I am. But it turns into a large shade tree, has berries that birds like and is host to the hackberry butterfly which is the earliest to appear in the spring.

Nice shrubs/ small trees include serviceberry (about 40 different kinds of birds love those berries), red twig dogwood, hawthorn, hazelnut, viburnum (exceptionally fragrant spring flowers, berries that birds like), clethera/summersweet, bayberry.

I suggest finding a good local tree nursery (NOT a big box) and talking to them about trees, what you are looking for, what grows well in your area, etc. You mentioned "great deals." Don't cheap out. It is a one time purchase that will last for generations. Buy fewer trees and spend the money to get a well started, well cared for tree that will make you happy.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I don't know about good price as in inexpensive, but I recall there is a great garden center/nursery to the north of Princeton called Ambleside -- I think it was on or near rt 206 or 27? Amwell comes to mind though I'm not sure if I'm remebering correctly. Great selection of well grown plants, shrubs and trees. I bought my dwarf Magnolia there.

There is also a place called Rarefind Nursery near Great Adventure. I haven't had the chance to go there yet but I drool over their catalog every year and I see them when they come to the Pineland Alliance Native Plant sales, and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful. I usually end up getting plants then but I really want to go see their full selection and the greenhouse. They host workshops and horticultural seminars there too.

For great deals on less mature specimens, Bowmans Hill Wildflower Preserve (just north of Doylestown in Pa.) will have their spring native plant sale during two weeks near or on Mothers Day weekend. I always end up buying until I can't fit any more plants in my SUV....

Keep an eye open for NJ Ag extention office Master Gardeners sale in spring. I know they have it annually in spring. It's a good chance to meet the trained Master Gardeners from your area and ask all kinds of questions as well as to get started plants for your garden.

By the way, you are far enough north in NJ to grow sugar maple. Personally I would choose sugar maple over autumn blaze. Have you been to the Howell Living History Farm? I guess it's too late for Maple tree tapping but they might still be doing maple sugaring. They have fantastic demonstrations every weekend.

bullthistle
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I have read anyone suggesting hemlock which can be sheared and still look great. I don't like arborvitae because one bad winter with snow and all those years of growth go down the drain. Cedar is not that bad either.

WildcatNurseryman
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Location: Lexington, KY.

Bullthistle, the Arb I am refering to is Thuja Plicata which is a pyramidal tree that has a single leader and takes snow-load with-out problems. Thuja Occidentalis ('Nigra', 'Emerald Green', 'Degroot's Spire', etc.) may be the plant you're refering to with snow-load issues, as they are most often grown with several leaders that do indead spread apart in ice/snow. Western Arb. (Thuja Plicata 'Green Giant', 'Spring Grove', 'Zebrinas') is worth looking into.

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