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Old 01-28-2013, 09:30 AM   #1
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


Hello there! After 15 years in NYC, my man and I moved to Northern NJ about two years ago. We love our house. But we'd love it even more if I could open the window shades and not have our entire life exposed to the neighbors.

So, we're gonna plant some evergreen trees for privacy. (Not the perfectly sculpted, thin, tall trees that are so common right now. We want it to look woodsy, if possible.)

I've never done this, but I'm handy and I like to learn new things. To that end, do you guys think this is an accurate list of sequential steps for this project? What am I missing?

1) plan where to put trees
2) find out if we need a permit (pretty sure we don't)
3) determine a few tree species we'd be happy with
4) find a local nursery that can sell us one or more of these species
5) ask the nursery how we should plant the specific trees we're gonna buy
6) call before we dig, and get gas lines and such marked
7) modify placement plan based on final tree choice and gas lines
8) apply for permit if needed
9) buy trees and associated materials
10) plant trees
11) walk around in pajamas cause the neighbors can't see us!

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


I would move step #6 to the #1 spot.
Then move step #4 to #2.

In your shoes I would find out where I couldn't plant first, (gas, sewer, etc.) before I started planning.
Then I would check with the city (or HOA) to make sure there are no restrictions on where you can plant. So many feet to the property line, easements, etc.
Third step would be to find a nursery you like. They often have knowledgeable people who will work with you. They can not only help you choose what trees will best suit your needs, but can assist you with your plan and give invaluable advice in planting and maintenance. I would avoid the box stores.

Edited to add:
http://www.nj1-call.org/callbeforeyoudig.aspx
http://www.njua.com/html/call_b4_you_dig.cfm


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Old 01-29-2013, 08:46 AM   #3
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


Thanks for the suggestions! We had lines marked previously, so we have a sense of where we can and can't plant. We're pretty positive there are no lines anywhere near where we want to put trees this time. But since there's no harm in marking early, I agree that calling them first is smart.

And I agree wholeheartedly on avoiding the big box stores! We don't have any spectacular nurseries very close to where I live. But we have some good ones.

Have you ever ordered trees online? We'd love to get trees that are already 3 feet tall, or even taller. (Our sooner enjoyment of privacy is worth the money.) Is that something one can get delivered straight from a tree farm?
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


Get a soil test also. Ever Greens need an acidic soil.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:03 AM   #5
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Get a soil test also. Ever Greens need an acidic soil.
How does one do this?

And can I take the presence of existing, thriving evergreens in my yard as a positive sign?
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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It seems to me that privacy is your primal motive. Evergreen trees will accomplish that, but there are many more factors that give a lot more ambiance to the yard without sacrificing privacy. Standard landscaping made of a large volume of bluegrass edged with hedges, evergreens and trees look generally very boring to me.

Consider adding to your planning stage: dwarf and semi-dwarf trees with color; perennial plants, planters and bed areas; serpentine pathways through the landscape; hidden areas within the yard; several little areas with seating for a few people; faux fences. I say faux fence meaning a tall short length wall blocking the visual intrusions, but not a fence on the edge of the lot.

The size of your lot and your neighbors yards have an impact too. Good luck.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:22 AM   #7
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


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It seems to me that privacy is your primal motive. Evergreen trees will accomplish that, but there are many more factors that give a lot more ambiance to the yard without sacrificing privacy. Standard landscaping made of a large volume of bluegrass edged with hedges, evergreens and trees look generally very boring to me.

Consider adding to your planning stage: dwarf and semi-dwarf trees with color; perennial plants, planters and bed areas; serpentine pathways through the landscape; hidden areas within the yard; several little areas with seating for a few people; faux fences. I say faux fence meaning a tall short length wall blocking the visual intrusions, but not a fence on the edge of the lot.

The size of your lot and your neighbors yards have an impact too. Good luck.
Thank you for the suggestions. I know what you mean about how boring the grass + hedge style yard can be.

My yard is just not that big, though! The only hidden area would be under the back stairs! And if we added any faux fencing, we'd never make it from the driveway to the back door.

Really, we're just looking to plant 3 to 5 medium sized evergreen trees in our side yard (about 15 feet wide) to mitigate the lack of privacy. We're not doing any additional landscaping right now.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:50 AM   #8
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


Size does have an impact. I have a better understanding of your project.

Still, if the evergreens fill your sideyard, a faux fence (my term) would take that same area with only 6" thickness. How could the short faux fence block your path to the garage if the evergreens do not?

My suggestions were just off the cuff ideas. I'm sure, just based on you starting the thread, that you will think it through and make the best decision.
Gary
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:51 AM   #9
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


Blond's suggestions are spot on. Confirm locations of where you can and can't plant. And then go to a nursery. Our local nursery did a very quick landscape plan for us for $50. He listened to what we wanted and what we liked. He gave us guidance as to what trees/plants will do best in which areas (high sun, low sun, etc). Best $50 we ever spent.

Sounds like you don't need the landscape plan, but the guidance of an experience nursery is worth it. And most nursery's will have trees of many different heights for you to choose from. By buying in person you will actually get to see the tree in person before purchasing. And most nurseries around here provide a bit of a guarantee too.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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Our local nursery did a very quick landscape plan for us for $50. He listened to what we wanted and what we liked. He gave us guidance as to what trees/plants will do best in which areas (high sun, low sun, etc). Best $50 we ever spent.
We got some info on that service from a few nurseries nearby, too. But their fees were closer to triple what you got. It's not that we can't spend $150 on good info. But I don't know how good the info will be until I've got it, and $150 for an elaborate sales pitch ain't so hot!

I was hoping to find a tree farm nearby. I may be fooling myself, but I suspect that a tree farm would have less interest in pitching me associated services (brick patios, tree trimming, lawn furniture) and more interest in simply coaching me on how to make sure the tree thrives. I haven't found anything nearby just yet, though.

What do you think of that idea? Searching for a tree farm instead of a retail outfit?
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:48 AM   #11
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Could you help us plan to plant trees?


I agree you may not need the $150 landscape plan as you are just looking at trees.

I put tree farms and nursuries into the same category. (I don't consider the box stores nursuries). The advice from either would be good with respect to the type of trees you may want to have and where they grow the best. There are many different types of evergreens out there so don't limit yourself.


I've never been pitched extra services from our local nursuries even after them doing the plan for us. Our nursuries do have that merchandise, but if I'm out looking at trees, I get to talk to tree guy, not the fountain guy.

So I'm curious if you had a bad experience at one of yours.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:52 AM   #12
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Still, if the evergreens fill your sideyard, a faux fence (my term) would take that same area with only 6" thickness. How could the short faux fence block your path to the garage if the evergreens do not?
I was imagining the fences in the back yard, which isn't grand enough to fit them. Our town has an ordinance against side and front yard fences. So I can't put any fencing material in my side yard, whether it's a solid fence at the sidewalk (we're on a corner lot-- the side yard abuts a sidewalk) or a semi-solid fence nearer to the house.

I could potentially get away with a portable, non-permanent, garden-style "privacy screen". The accordion style wooden screens that folks use to hide an air conditioner or whathaveyou. But with the wind and Winters that we have in the Northeast, that just doesn't seem practical.

Thanks for the extra ideas, though. Part of why I'm asking here is so folks can share things I haven't thought of yet. I'd love for this project to end up being either easier than I expect, or better looking!
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:05 AM   #13
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I've never been pitched extra services from our local nursuries so I'm curious if you had a bad experience at one of yours. Our nursuries do have that merchandise, but if I'm out looking at trees, I get to talk to tree guy, not the fountain guy.
I think you might have more robust nurseries in your area than I have in mine. There is no distinction between the tree guy and the fountain guy here. At the best place I've been to, if you happen to catch one or two of the better, longer-term employees, they're very knowledgeable. But it's hit or miss.

I'm about 20 minutes outside of NYC, if that helps explain the situation any. We might believe we're the center of the universe, but our knowledge of flora is a bit lacking!
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:47 PM   #14
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I would move step #6 to the #1 spot.
Then move step #4 to #2.

In your shoes I would find out where I couldn't plant first, (gas, sewer, etc.) before I started planning.
Then I would check with the city (or HOA) to make sure there are no restrictions on where you can plant. So many feet to the property line, easements, etc.
Third step would be to find a nursery you like. They often have knowledgeable people who will work with you. They can not only help you choose what trees will best suit your needs, but can assist you with your plan and give invaluable advice in planting and maintenance. I would avoid the box stores.
i think you are right #6 should be #1 and #4 should be #2..

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