The Q&A Archives: Tree Recommendation

Question: We wish to plant one or two rows of tall graceful trees to screen our house on acreage in the Klamath River valley at 1900' ft. elevation about 10 miles west of Yreka on highway 96. Fast growth is very important. Winters are fairly mild with snow occasionally (2-4") lasting a day or two at most. Would you consider Lombardi poplar or cottonwood or something similar to be appropriate? Sun is on the plot from 10am till dusk. Soil is riverbank DG and rocky. This site is open so the scale of these trees won't overwhelm. Any planting and fast growth encouragement tips are appreciated.

Answer: One of the most often asked questions is "how fast will it grow?". The growth rate of any tree will depend on the site conditions, including soil type, watering, and fertilization. Some fast-growing deciduous trees that require minimal care include American Elm (Ulmus americana), Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum), and Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis). Each will reach 25' or more in 10 years. Cottonwood is is a member of the poplar family, and provides fast growth, especially when planted near sources of water such as rivers and streams. Choose Populus trichocarpa (Black Cottonwood), or P. angustifolia (Narrowleaf Cottonwood), as either do well in elevations up to 8,000'.

Give your new trees a good start by loosening the soil well, in an area larger than the rootmass of the tree. Backfill, then plant so the trees are at the same soil level as they were growing in the containers. Follow up by providing water on a weekly basis until the trees are established (usually one growing season). Once established, your trees should need minimal encouragement to grow to their mature heights of 60' to 150'.

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