Ask a Question forum: What kind of tree or bush should i get (Zone 5, Full Sun)?

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Dec 19, 2016 6:29 PM CST
I live in NH in plant Hardiness Zone 5, where I want to plant is full sun basically all day. I need a plant that is tall but doesn't have full branches/leaves. I will be planting it to have some kind of barrier from our neighbors (and it needs to be taller because the neighbor's house is up higher than ours). But it can't be a shade tree/bush, we have a garden very close by and we don't want to block sunlight, our yard is also smaller so I don't want to make it feel closed in. So something with sparse or delicate looking branches/leaves that will still let in a decent amount of sunlight would be perfect. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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Dec 19, 2016 7:25 PM CST

How big can it get?

I'm having a hard time visualizing a sparse tree. That would be when all the leaves fall off, right?. Smiling

My only thought is Japanese Black Pine. They can get huge BUT you can prune, shape and thin to keep them small and airy.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Dec 19, 2016 7:46 PM CST
Welcome! I agree with Daisy, we really need to know the maximum height and spread. If it can be a tree, then a honeylocust, either a green one or the yellow-leaved 'Sunburst' is light and feathery although will grow tall. It has small leaflets that don't make a mess when they fall and it creates only light shade. Very hardy, I have one here in Zone 4.

Another plant I thought of, not ultimately as tall, was Sambucus Black Lace ('Eva') but it may be too temperamental but it is pretty when it is doing well. Some pictures of that one:

There are similar cut-leaf Sambucus (elderberry) in different leaf colours.

Have you thought about the taller ornamental grasses such as Miscanthus?

Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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Dec 19, 2016 8:17 PM CST
As for a tree a ginkgo is sparse and interesting,but a bit of a slow grower
My first pick would be a juneberry (Amelanchier) It has nice white flowers in the spring and tasty berries in the summer (June) If you don't want the berries the birds will gladly take them, great color in the fall. It can be a bush or tree and grows rather quickly.

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Dec 19, 2016 8:38 PM CST
Welcome to NGA, @redrosevamp !

What side of your yard are you wanting to plant the tree(s) on? I think that any sort of tree, sparse or not, is going to shade a garden too much if it's planted to anything but the north of the garden. Depending, of course, on what you want to grow in your garden. Are you wanting to grow vegetables in your garden? or?
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Dec 19, 2016 9:14 PM CST
I was thinking just the same as Sandy, anything that is going to afford you any sort of privacy barrier is also going to make too much shade. We do need to know how tall the plant needs to be to give you the privacy screen you want.

Also an evergreen shrub or tree is really needed if privacy is what you're looking for - anything deciduous like the lovely honey locust will only have leaves for half the year. Daisy's suggestion of the Japanese Black Pine would be good except for all the pruning it will take to keep it small and see-through.

How about a trellis with a vine on it? It might be a great privacy barrier but could be kept narrow, so that it doesn't hog all the sunlight. Something like Sweet Autumn Clematis or Honeysuckle would cover quickly with foliage each spring, could be pruned to whatever you want through the summer, and in fall would have a thick enough screen left over after the leaves fall to still afford some privacy. Ivy would give great evergreen coverage, but would again take a lot of pruning.

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