British Columbia: Need help choosing the perfect privacy tree

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Tej, Jan 20, 2022.

  1. Tej

    Tej New Member

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    Im looking to plant a privacy tree wall on a farm property (tree height at 20 feet minimum). The area we are looking to cover is 335m, located on 112st in Delta. Any suggestions on what trees work best with a cost effectiveness in mind & any suppliers to contact would be very appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Tej
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Western Redcedar Thuja plicata would probably be best.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Thuja plicata hedges are conspicuously prevalent when looking from highways passing through rural districts in your area - clearly this species is a local favorite for that use. In addition, horticultural clones of it sold there have a local history of being united under the common name hedging cedar.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2022
  4. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Thuja plicata makes a tall hedge within just a few years but grows very wide too unless pruned regularly. Something else to keep in mind is that they require moist soil and if summers continue to be dry, the hedge may suffer from lack of water unless you're prepared to irrigate. But perhaps your soil in Delta doesn't dry out too quickly.

    Leyland 'cedar' hedges (Cupressus × leylandii) grow even more quickly than Thuja plicata and need less water but, again, grow very wide as well as tall.

    Where I now live on Vancouver Island, Thuja plicata are dying by the hundreds and homeowners plant Cupressus x leylandii almost exclusively for hedges, because of their quick growth, drought-tolerance, deer-tolerance, and attractiveness.
     
  5. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle used to do routine spraying of Leyland cypresses there for cypress tip moth, perhaps still does (infested specimens end up peppered with dead brown terminal shoots). Otherwise, I'm inclined to think a lot of the planting of this hybrid that occurs in the general landscape here is based on the fact that existing plantings - like those of the Photinia x fraseri, Prunus laurocerasus and Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' that have histories of being used in large numbers within our region - stand out visually, get noticed. Also, the cypress is ubiquitous at local outlets - a warehouse store in my town already has some recently received potted stock of it on display.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    What a convoluted history! I knew Leyland Cypress was a cross between 2 NA west coast native trees – Monterey Cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Nootka Cypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, now Callitropsis nootkatensis or Xanthocyparis nootkatensis) but didn’t realize how much fiddling went on before it became commercially available and very popular.

    Have you heard the tragic story of one neighbour murdering the other because of a Leyland Cypress dispute?
    Leylandii: Why are they still so popular?.

    It’s always interesting to wonder which comes first – the product or the demand for it but I think in many cases it is the product. Here in deer country, homeowners without fences choose Leyland cypress mainly for the fact that deer won’t eat them and that they need less water than many other trees. The fact that they're fast growing and attractive are a bonuses.

    @Ron B – do you know which is correct - Callitropsis nootkatensis or Xanthocyparis nootkatensis?
     
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  8. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    We're going with Cupressus nootkatensis and Cupressus × leylandii. Here's why (and my apologies for the length of the explanation, but it's fairly complicated):

    The most up-to-date research reveals that there are four distinct, monophyletic* clades in Cupressus that roughly correspond with geography. The Eurasian-African clade (section Cupressus) has about eight species, ranging from the Mediterranean region and the Himalayas to south western China and Indochina (this is commonly known as "the Old World clade"). The American clade, with some fifteen species (section Hesperocyparis), is primarily found from Central America through Mexico into the American southwest and west (commonly known as "the New World clade"). The Northwest Coast of North America is home to another clade that comprises one species (section Callitropsis). The fourth clade is also monotypic, with the single species found in northeastern Vietnam (section Xanthocyparis). Note that to date, the preceding sectional names have not been formally published.

    Unfortunately, there is a considerable divide between influential botanists regarding how to treat the segregate taxa. Different authors advocate the splitting of Cupressus into two, three or four segregate genera (the sectional names used above more or less denoting the separate genera). The argument adopted at UBC Botanical Garden, however, is for a broader, more inclusive conception of Cupressus, wherein the genus is subdivided into monophyletic sections (as outlined above), rather than into separate genera. This line of reasoning hinges on the fact that there are few if any significant morphological differences between the Old and New World clades, and that Cupressus species, regardless of clade, appear to be able to hybridize. Inter-fertility is generally seen as evidence of relatedness, and is thus, a good indication of generic boundaries (orchids and the pome-fruited genera in Rosaceae notwithstanding). On a purely practical note, recognizing Cupressus as a more inclusive genus also preserves a level of nomenclatural stability.

    The correct scientific designation for Leyland cypress depends upon the taxonomic approach one follows. Under the line of reasoning stated above, Leyland cypress is Cupressus × leylandii. However, if considered an intergeneric hybrid (as is common in older publications), the name is indicated by a multiplication sign (×) preceding the (legitimately published) portmanteau name constructed from the two genera involved. Unfortunately, given the wide range of names for the two species in the current literature, the possibilities are somewhat frightening. Viz, × Cupressocyparis leylandii (Cupressus × Chamaecyparis); × Cuprotropsis leylandii (Cupressus × Callitropsis); × Hesperocyparis leylandii (Hesperocyparis × Xanthocyparis); or × Hesperotropsis leylandii (Hesperocyparis × Callitropsis).

    * In cladistics, monophyly describes a group of individuals, species, genera, families, etc.—a clade—derived from a single common ancestor and that includes all surviving members of that lineage; in other words, a monophyletic group is a branch on an evolutionary tree. Monophyly is nowadays understood to be and generally accepted as the standard requirement for the legitimate biological circumscription of taxa at all ranks.
     
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  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Agree with Douglas above, treating Cupressus in a broad sense is by far the most useful. Worth adding, that if it is split into several genera, then Leyland Cypress (and two other closely similar hybrids) become the only intergeneric hybrids in the whole of the Gymnosperms: which is another good argument for saying they are better treated in one genus.
     
  10. Tej

    Tej New Member

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    Thank you for all the information I wasn’t expecting this many replies. Would anyone here be able to identify this tree in the picture I liked the density / height of the privacy tree wall.
    Thank you
     

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  11. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    A basic western redcedar tree I think
    Western redcedar - Province of British Columbia

    If you can get a close photo of branch — and post here —- it’s helpful

    these trees grow tall and wide

    they are thirsty

    they do reveal lower trunk as they grow taller (My coast experience)

    i would not put them close to buildings or paved areas or driveways

    they do shed a bit

    I like them

    I think people use them as relatively inexpensive solution —- til they grow tall then tree service and utility wires become a factor
     
  12. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    Thuja plicata (western red cedar), or more likely the hybrid 'Green Giant' (T. standishii × T. plicata), which is a very common hedge or screening subject in the Vancouver area. Thuja standishii (Japanese arborvitae) is similar to T. plicata in form, but considerably smaller in stature and exceptionally uniform in texture. Most people would be hard-pressed to recognize the hybrid (which also known, erroneously, as T. plicata ‘Emerald Giant’) as anything other than a vigorous, narrow selection of western red cedar. It is used primarily for hedging because of its density and retention of its lower branching. 'Green Giant' develops into a relatively uniform, conical tree to 10 to 15 m tall after 30 years if planted as a specimen. Other than by overall shape, the hybrid is virtually impossible to distinguish from western red cedar.

    Another possibility (though less likely) is T. plicata Hogan Group—distinctively slender-crowned western red cedars known from southwest Washington and adjacent northwest Oregon. A natural stand of narrow Thuja plicata individuals on Hogan Road in Gresham, Oregon, is the genesis for the cultivar name ‘Hogan’ (also known as ‘Fastigiata’). Plants sold under these names are variable. Some are propagated vegetatively, but there are also seed-grown plants that have been re-propagated vegetatively for the trade. Obviously, multiple different clones cannot have the same cultivar name (hence the Group name). However, in my experience, ‘Hogan’ reliably identifies narrow variants of T. plicata in the trade. The best of the Hogan Group maintain a crown diameter of no more than 3 or 4 m on a 15-m-tall tree.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Hedge asked about by Tej looks to have the shoot architecture, foliar coarseness and less vibrant shade of green displayed by material sold as 'Green Giant'. With the foliage features of this hybrid including characters presumably resulting from the participation of Thuja standishii which make it differ visibly from pure T. plicata (when I encounter plants looking like western redcedar labeled as 'Green Giant' I assume these are incorrect). In addition, there are two plants at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle accessioned in 1962 as T. plicata x T. standishii under a National Arboretum number* that also have this same coarse foliage, distinctly different from what is usual with T. plicata. (Save for the large-parted, dark green seedling variant raised and selected by Michael C. Lee of Seattle, Washington who named it the against-the-code 'Colvos Hybrid', and which I refer to myself as the presumably acceptable 'Colvos').

    T. plicata 'Fastigiata' is an old European name that surely predates considerably the commencement of reference to local material as Hogan cedars. And when supposed original locations of selections dispersed under such names as 'Hogan' and so on are visited it becomes clear that the involved growth habits are site conditions responses more than random variations resulting entirely from genetic differences. With it often being the case that all the members of the species in the same district have the basic same structure. As well as other cypress family conifers growing among them. So that it has been observed in print that in the British Isles both Calocedrus decurrens and Cupressus x leylandii can be spirelike or they can be open and spreading, depending on which climate area they are located in. We have the same phenomenon here in western North America, with examples of zones where cypress family conifers all look clipped being the northern Willamette Valley (including Hogan Avenue, in Gresham), Woodinville north of Seattle, and the Newport Hills neighborhood east of Seattle.

    *If I remember correctly this was not actually the same number under which what became 'Green Giant' was sent out under. But I would have to check again now to be sure (it can be found by using the Washington Park Arboretum Collections Search on the appropriate web site)
     
  14. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    I'll amend my comment about 'Green Giant' being "virtually impossible to distinguish from western red cedar" to "difficult for the casual viewer to distinguish from western red cedar." Yes, coarser, darker foliage and somewhat more compact branchlets (and subtly yellow tipped after a typical Vancouver winter), but unless they're side by side, most folks would have difficulty telling them apart. Even the cones look like those of T. plicata. By the way, does anyone know if these are fertile hybrids?

    Regarding Hogan Group trees, I don't think the narrow habit is entirely edaphically related. I recall imports at Massot Nurseries (Richmond, BC) in the 1980s that were planted out on typical landscape sites, and these trees have remained narrow. There are a number of specimens on 16th Avenue between Blanca and Wesbrook Boulevard (Google Street View). I could be wrong about this, but I would expect typical western reds to grow very differently on this site.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Referring to a type as a Cultivar Group means of course more than one separately recognizable cultivar is known to have the same naming. So theoretically this so-called Hogan cedar here could be an always narrow growing one and that one over there not. In addition, just what I have seen presented to the public in western Washington as 'Atrovirens', 'Excelsa', 'Fastigiata', 'Hogan' etc. is sufficiently inconsistent to make it clear the production industry is in fact growing and dispersing a jumble under the involved names. (Same as with weeping cultivars of Nootka cypress). With routine practice sometimes being so loose that one grower I talked to in person told me that the large block of field grown (hedging) cedars they had on their land was being called by them whichever cultivar an inquiring party said they were looking for from one time to the next.
     
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  16. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Well-Known Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    I can't argue with much of what you say, but I'm still left wondering what to call (what I assume are) different Thuja plicata seedlings that are consistently narrower than typical, and (were presumably) vegetatively propagated in the trade.
     
  17. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    A percentage of those other, narrow growing Thuja plicata clones could even be independently selected introductions that are being sold using the names of existing cultivars. So that at least part of the time - should labeled material of any one of them be encountered at some point - it could become apparent that the names being used to sell them were inapplicable anyway.

    Meanwhile here's the variety assortment whoever works on this information source thought they needed to include in order to accommodate potential listings by growers. (The minority component of patented introductions will have the advantage of being described in detail on the United States Patent and Trade Office web site):

    Results for thuja plicata | Wholesale Nursery Supplies & Plant growers in Oregon | Nursery Guide

    Later: I then went on to use the Guide on the web site of the British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association to search for growers listing Thuja plicata, looked at the web pages of some of them. This resulted in the additional names T. plicata 'Emerald Giant', 'Excelsa Robusta', 'Gelderland' and 'Johnsen Select' being turned up.

    The 'Gelderland' is one I grew myself for some years at my previous habitation. Where it produced a dense cone with a frothy surface of fine, round sprays pointing in various directions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2022

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