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Avatar for UtterButter
Jun 27, 2017 7:20 PM CST
Rockland New York
Hi All -
Forgive me if this is the wrong subforum for this. I have loved reading all of the great information here for a long time.


Homes Back Yard borders a rural road, say 1 car per minute.
There was a line of some kind of arborvitae planted there ~10 years prior. Tree health various from OK to long dead on the tree line, the two hollys seem ok. See photos starting at Main and going numerically 1-4. Roughly 30 trees along the 160ft property line.

Tree height is great on many of these trees , 20+ feet. Most of the death is at the bottom of the trees. I would hate to rip everything out and replant 6-8 ft trees. (Location NY, no one has any mature trees , remaining fall out from Hurricane Sandy).

Is there any hope for these trees, or any idea what has/is killing them?
If the tree has growth at the top but is dead cooked at the bottom is the tree alive?

A pool is going in the backyard within the coming year, so I am actually thinking of building a 6-8ft privacy fence in front of the tree line and leaving the trees. I Would then slowly cut out the dead trees and plant new trees ( different species I suspect). Any thoughts on this? In that regard the backyard viewer would only see the fence and then the tree tops ( still alive) as the fully dead trees are slowly removed and new trees are replanted.

What would you'll do? Ultimate Goal, total visibility blockage of road from backyard and 2nd floor of house. So 20+ft of blockage. Patience - limited.

Thank you!

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Jun 27, 2017 7:59 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
I'm not sure what the dead trees were but the alive bluish trees looks like Spruce. They will lose their bottom branches with age - don't cut them out. They are slow growers so are probably pretty old already. If you are building a fence, I would prune out the dead branches on the Spruce, take out the completely dead brown things and enjoy whats left. I don't think you can replace them with anything that:

1. Would be tall enough to block the view from a second story window without being so wide that you won't be able to go out your back door.

2. Will grow fast enough that you will enjoy the results in your lifetime.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Jun 27, 2017 8:13 PM CST
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier
Whats wrong with planting a second row of something else?
Nothing behind the single row of trees, except a patch of grass...
Really don't know what evergreens grow up there, but maybe something for leaf colour?
Get a thick enough planting and it won't matter that leaf drop happens.
Otherwise, maybe some tree form hollies?
Or rhododendron?
But, you don't want to remove the single line of trees, but add to them.
Jun 27, 2017 8:35 PM CST
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Amaryllis Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Orchids Master Gardener: Florida Irises
Herbs Region: Florida Vegetable Grower Daylilies Birds Cat Lover
I agree that the blue ones are most likely spruce, a beautiful and long-lived tree. They're planted too close together, accounting for the thin-ness and die-back of the lower branches from not enough light. If planted as a solitary specimen tree, they keep lush branches right down to the ground. You do want to keep them, they're wonderful sturdy trees (obviously survived Sandy, right?) and serve your purpose for the tall screening. The one that's dead may have been an arborvitae. They're fast growing and short-lived but pretty and make a good privacy screen.

I like the idea of the fence - which you'll probably need when you build a pool anyway because most counties have a certain height of fencing required around pools for safety. So build your fence first, then plant new trees of some sort in the gaps outside the fence. If you plant colorful deciduous trees, you'll lose a little bit of your privacy screen in the winter, but you're not using your pool then anyway. Pay attention to spacing, because with the existing trees already well established, new ones may have a battle to get roots in there and will need all the room and help you can give them. Fall is a good time to plant trees, and often you can get them at a reduced price as nurseries love to reduce their inventory before shutting down for the season.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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