JenJones24
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Location: Kensington, MD (DC area)

Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

Hi All,

New to the forum, first-time homeowner, novice gardener. This is the view out my kitchen window.
IMG_7541.JPG
There's a gap there, that I thought might be nice for a flowering tree (or shrub). It might be nice to eventually block the view of the neighbors window for a little more privacy (that way, I don't have to invest in blinds there ha). Although they only get a nice view of me cooking dinner and doing dishes haha.

Any thoughts on something that would work well close to a fence? This is on the west side of house, DC area, zone 7a. I could do something smaller like hydrangeas, but trying to think of other ideas. Most of the flowering plants in our yard are white, pink or purple -- so trying to stick within that color scheme. On the neighbor's side of the fence is purple hibiscus.

Jen

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pinksand
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

That might be a nice spot for a crepe myrtle since they're so vertically inclined. Most shrubs that came to mind also had extensive widths. Carolina Allspice or serviceberry might be good options as well. For some reason it just seems like a perfect spot for a crepe myrtle though and they come in a wide variety of sizes and colors so you should be able to find one that will get tall enough to block the neighbors window as well as fit within your color scheme.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

JenJones24
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

So funny you mention that, I was thinking about a crepe myrtle today as well. Maybe a slightly smaller variety.

We have a dwarf hot pink one in the front yard. It would be certainly pretty to look at out the window. I'm wondering if it's okay to plant one that close to the house?

Thanks!
Jen

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ElizabethB
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

Hi JenJones

I LOVE Crepe Myrtles. I HATE Crepe Murder - planting the wrong variety for the space and incorrect pruning.

Please provide the Forum Members with some planting dimensions.

How much planting space do you have? How far from the house to the fence? What is the maximum width left to right and front to back? What is the maximum height for your environment?

Another factor is light. Is your spot north, south, east or west? How many hours of full sun does the space receive? Morning or afternoon sun?

Give the Forum Members more information and you will receive more accurate information.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

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pinksand
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

Elizabeth, I think the op mentioned the site being on the west side of the house.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

JenJones24
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

I’ve provided some more photos below if that helps. The one thing I worry about is 1) how close it is to the house. 2) if we’ll be encroaching on our neighbors space too much, though I think they’d like some privacy there as well. My husband likes the idea of a crepe myrtle there, but I want to be sure we get the right variety and size for the space.

How far from the house to the fence?
I’d say it’s approximately 10-12 feet.

What is the maximum width left to right and front to back?
I have about 5 feet of width (before the slight drop-off where the rocks are on the right side). But there’s nothing to the right of this spot, and no tall growing plants to the left (mainly ferns and hostas). The neighbors do have hibiscus growing on the other side of the fence to the left. The actual bed there is approx 3 ft wide.

What is the maximum height for your environment?
Our fence is 5 feet high at this spot (before the slight drop off), and I'm looking for something that’s going to help block the view of the neighbors house — specifically that window.

Is your spot north, south, east or west? How many hours of full sun does the space receive? Morning or afternoon sun?
The spot is on the west side of house -- unsure how many hours of sun it gets there, but I can monitor it this weekend.

House 2.jpg
House3.png
(ignore the old fence, see new fence in photo above)
House.png

JenJones24
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

And here is a picture of the front of the house, just so you get a sense of the size (living outside of DC = small house ha). Not really loving the excess amount of evergreens in the front the previous owners planted...but there's some other nice plants in the yard including ornamental grasses, ferns, dogwood, coneflowers, hostas, holly bush, some sort of an ornamental plum tree, the dwarf crepe myrtle and other shrub plants I still need to ID.

It's the first home we've owned (bought less than a year ago), so learning as we go!

Thanks for the advice.

-Jen
IMG_5140.JPG

Susan W
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

I agree that an evergreen shrub would add more barrier. As for wax myrtle, could be iffy. The southern wax myrtle is iffy here, especially if cold winter. The northern cousin, bayberry is iffy here, on the warm side. As the location mentioned above is West, can get the brunt of west and north wind/weather.
Also, if you want to make bayberry candles, good luck! The berries are very small, so need tons, and you need male and female trees.
Have fun!
Susan

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ElizabethB
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

JenJones.

After viewing your photos I see that you planting space is restricted by the concrete pad. Just guessing - it looks like you only have 3' to 5' between the fence and the concrete pad.

Crepe Myrtles - Muskogee has a lovely lavender/purple bloom. It is a very fast grower but gets too large for your space.

My FAVORITE crepe Myrtle is Dynamite. It is the only true red Crepe Myrtle - I am talking about "fire engine" red. Slower growing than some of the other varieties. I planted one in my Mother's front yard 15 years ago. It is 12' to 15' tall and no more than 10 wide. I prune it in January/February. I only remove suckers, crossed or rubbing branches and thin interior branches to improve circulation. NEVER lop off the ends of the branches! That is Crepe Murder. I will post a link for you on proper pruning techniques.

Wax Myrtles are very attractive. My issue is that they will grow too large for your space and they sucker profusely.

Another option is Loropetalum - ZhuZhou.

The tallest growing Loropetalum - 12' +. It is easily trained to a multi trunk or single trunk tree. The purple foliage is stunning and the hot pink blooms will take your breath away.

In the south it is semi deciduous. It drops its leaves but new ones are forming as the old ones drop. You never have bare branches like a Crepe Myrtle.

I do love the Natchez Crepe Myrtle - the pure white blooms and the cinnamon trunk make this tree a stunning addition to any yard. Unfortunately it is much too large for your space. 25' to 35' tall and 20' + wide.

I will post pruning instructions for Crepe Myrtles.

This is a good publication on proper pruning techniques for Crepe Myrtles.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive ... yrtles.htm

I am looking forward to your decision.

Good luck and Happy Garening

If you decide on a Crepe Myrtle you may find this publication helpful.

https://www.lsuagcenter.com/news_archive ... etrees.htm

:-()
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

catgrass
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

Ligustrum make a nice small tree/shrub-and it flowers in the spring. The scent can be overpowering in a small place, though. It is evergreen, and can be shaped however you want it.
zone 9 Southwest La.

imafan26
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Re: Small flowering tree/shrub for fence line?

I would go with a narrow evergreen shrub or slow growing tree

Remember you cannot plant right up against the fence. you need to take into account the canopy spread and where the roots are going to grow. You don't want to encroach on the neighbors' property and they might not appreciate a deciduous tree dropping leaves and flowers and baby crepe myrtle seedlings in their yard.

The other thing about trees vs shrubs. Trees have trunks at some point they will be the right height then the canopy will lift and all you will see is the trunk.

Camelia: Winter hardy camelias can handle anything but a killing frost. Winter's Beauty, Winter's Charm, Winter's Star. They bloom in the fall and early winter so you will have some flowers later in the year. It is evergreen and slow growing and can handle shade

Chamaecyparis obtusa (False Cypress) dwarf &slow-growing cultivars including
‘Elmwood Gold’, ‘Filicoides’,
‘Kosteri’, ‘Nana’, ‘Nana Gracilis’,
& ‘Nana Lutea’
Dwarf Hinoki
Falsecypress
Border; full sun to light shade; moist
sites preferred, especially when
young

Dwarf Holly
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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