Tree For Screening Neighbor's Window - Knowledgebase Question

Palo Alto, CA
Avatar for fred_sugihwo
Question by fred_sugihwo
November 2, 2005
Hi, my neighbor has a 2 story house built right next to my fence. His
wall is unfortunately part of the fence; don't know how he got that
approved. Anyhow, he has one second floor window that looks directly
into my backyard. Right now I have about 7 redwood trees growing 3-4ft
from each other as hedge but they are getting taller and are about 25ft
tall. How do I prevent them from growing taller/bigger? Is it OK to
cut the top off? Is there any other plant that you can recommend for
my situation?

Thank you very much,

Answer from NGA
November 2, 2005
You can shear your redwood trees to keep them at the height you desire. While it is not generally recommend that trees be topped, in this case, if you shear them all around, including the top, the plants will take on a shrubby shape rather than try to grow upright as trees.

The only tall privacy screen type plant I can think of that will fit in the site you describe is Thuja (arborvitae). Thuja occidentalis has an upright, open growth pattern, eventually reaching about 30' tall and 2'-3' wide at the base. Thuja plicata, or Western Red Cedar, can reach 30'-50' tall. It has a very dense, narrow, erect growth habit and can be sheared to maintain a width of about 4'.

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