The Q&A Archives: Suitable Replacements for a hedge wall of 25' Italian Cypress

Question: A recent fire destroyed 14 of 25 Italian Cypress Trees that form the back boundary privacy wall of our property. Cost to replace the 25' ft. tall trees has been estimated at $1,000 per tree and $500 each to plant. Insurance only covered $7,000. To avoid having to come up with $14,000 and/or planting less mature trees that would make an uneven line, we are looking into the possibility of removing the remaining 11 trees and starting over with something else. My question(s): a) is there any possibility I could sell the 11 mature trees to someone and b) what might make a better, more affordable option (I need coverage to at least 18 feet due to how slope affects line of sight).

Answer: First, I'm sorry for your loss. It's never easy to renovate a landscape after a fire. There may be a local landscaping company interested in your mature cypresses, but their desire to dig and move them may depend upon their own market and whether or not someone else might be interested in having them installed in their own yard. I can't be much help in this - you may have to contact several landscape contractors to find someone interested.

As for replacements, there are several evergreens which will grow fast to 18' and beyond, and be less expensive than Italian cypresses. Juniperus virginiana 'Emerald Sentinel'; needs full sun, well drained soils. Narrowly pyramidal, 6? wide by 15-20? in height at maturity. Dark green color.

Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd' (aka 'Emerald' or 'Emerald Green') ? Full sun or partial shade, average soils. Attains a 4-6? wide by 12-15? tall size at maturity. Good green color, even in winter.

Ilex x attenuata 'Foster #2' ? Full sun to partial shade, moist well drained soils. Attains a 5? wide by 25? tall, compact habit at maturity. A female selection with good dark green foliage.

Best wishes with your landscape.

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