The Q&A Archives: Tree Selection

Question: I'm looking for a good windbreak that will provide year-round vegetation for an area of my yard approximately 50' from the house or other structure. I'm thinking about a Giant Arborvitae, Leyland Cypress, or Redwood. I'm looking for a 30'-45' height and under 20' width. Can you give me some advice?

Answer: Arborvitae, Leyland Cypress and Redwood are all good choices for the site you describe. You might also consider Austrian Pine, which grows 40'-60'. A long-lived, winter hardy tree. It grows well on a wide variety of soils, but requires supplemental watering (35-50?). Has a fast rate of growth, growing 18-24 inches a year once established. It has a dense, dark green crown. Excellent windbreak tree because it holds its lower branches very well. As a young tree, it has a pyramidal form and in maturity develops a round, flat-topped head.

Ponderosa Pine; 60?-80?, Idaho native withstands hot, dry sites well. Fast growth rate, 18-24 inches a year once established. Adapts to a variety of soil conditions but must have good drainage and full sunlight. Many consider this pine to be the most reliable evergreen for windbreaks. Provides excellent cover, food and nesting sites for much wildlife.

Blue or Green Spruce; 50'-60', An attractive, hardy, long-lived tree grows unusually slow the first 1-3 years after planting, but has a medium growth rate after that. Its crown is very dense with attractive pyramidal form. It prefers deep, moist, well drained soils but will grow well on other soils if sufficient moisture (20-45?) is available. The color varies from green to blue. It makes an excellent windbreak species.

Hope these suggestions help.

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