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Old 05-17-2020, 10:34 AM   #1
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Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this space


11 blue spruces dying from cytospora canker and needle cast disease. Inside they are drying out badly, but from the street side they are ok.

The previous homeowner in 2005 when moved in planted the wrong evergreens(blue spruces donít survive in SE WI) and he planted them too close together.

An arborist told me ďUnfortunately, you will likely have the same issue with almost any large evergreen you would plant in that space. All Evergreens prefer sun to part sun...shade and overcrowding leads to mold, fungus and other diseases.Ē

Our issue is once we remove these evergreens we lose 100% privacy from the noisy, busy street in our backyard. We also lose a screen from bad weather.

Our subdivision shot down a 6ft fence idea. My thought is 6ft hedges mixed in with other perennials? They must be deer and disease resistant and salt tolerant(snow plow sprays salt when plowing).

This covers at least a 60-70ft area.









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Old 05-17-2020, 10:49 AM   #2
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


You could thin them out, like cut down every other one or something, but I believe, sadly, once the branch dies at the bottom there's nothing you can do about it as they don't grow back.

Up here we have "Sitka Willow" and "Red Dogwood" between our spruces and birch trees, they provide good privacy in the summer, but in the winter it's a bit scarce.

Black spruce seem to do okay crowded up and shaded, but they're not exactly pretty trees; they're scraggly, tall and narrow. However, they do well for privacy after a decade or so, and given enough space they look alright. I've noticed they'll also trim down and thin up rather than try to win the sun competition against anything else, aka your blue spruces - unfortunately that makes them a bit uglier, like they'll grow on only one side or just up the middle or whatever they gotta do to nail down any free patch of sun.
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Old 05-17-2020, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


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You could thin them out, like cut down every other one or something, but I believe, sadly, once the branch dies at the bottom there's nothing you can do about it as they don't grow back.

Up here we have "Sitka Willow" and "Red Dogwood" between our spruces and birch trees, they provide good privacy in the summer, but in the winter it's a bit scarce.

Black spruce seem to do okay crowded up and shaded, but they're not exactly pretty trees; they're scraggly, tall and narrow. However, they do well for privacy after a decade or so, and given enough space they look alright. I've noticed they'll also trim down and thin up rather than try to win the sun competition against anything else, aka your blue spruces - unfortunately that makes them a bit uglier, like they'll grow on only one side or just up the middle or whatever they gotta do to nail down any free patch of sun.

Thanks! Did you originally plant them a certain size? I guess my point is Iíll need something planted at least 4-5ft tall which can grow up to 6-7ft tall.


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Old 05-17-2020, 12:43 PM   #4
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


Ya, they are pretty crowded. You could try to thin them out but the survivors likely won't fill in. Seeing as they are beside a road, they may also be sensitive to spray from road salt and exhaust fumes. Some conifers are more tolerant than others. Otherwise blue spruce should survive unless there is some local condition that interferes - they grow reasonably well up here (we have one) even though they are not native.
As far as replacements, the larger the tree, the higher the price.
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Old 05-17-2020, 03:18 PM   #5
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


Quote:
I guess my point is I’ll need something planted at least 4-5ft tall which can grow up to 6-7ft tall.
Ayuh,...... Cedar comes to mind,......

Cedar has been used for hedges for many years,.....
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


I have cedars along my rear property line. I am no tree expert, but I think they are Northern White Cedars. They were likely planted in the mid 90's and are 20 -25 feet tall now. I know they don't mind being crowded --- these were planted way too close together, but not sure how they would handle road salt. Maybe ask the arborist.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:07 PM   #7
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


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Thanks! Did you originally plant them a certain size? I guess my point is Iíll need something planted at least 4-5ft tall which can grow up to 6-7ft tall.


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Oh... hmm black spruce grow up to 40-50 foot.

I think the willows and dogwoods get about 10-20 foot or so tall, and they tend to bush outward.

Sounds like my suggestions wouldn't work for your plans. Hopefully one of the other users has a better suggestion, we're pretty limited on plants that can survive sub-arctic heh
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:27 PM   #8
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


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Oh... hmm black spruce grow up to 40-50 foot.

I think the willows and dogwoods get about 10-20 foot or so tall, and they tend to bush outward.

Sounds like my suggestions wouldn't work for your plans. Hopefully one of the other users has a better suggestion, we're pretty limited on plants that can survive sub-arctic heh

Iím ok with them growing wide, Iíd just have to see how far to plant them apart, how many I need and how many years it would take to have them grow to fill in the area we need for privacy.


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Old 05-17-2020, 09:54 PM   #9
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


https://www.thespruce.com/red-twig-d...shrubs-2132727

https://www.whidbeycd.org/store/p42/...hensis%29.html
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:17 PM   #10
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


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Ayuh,...... Cedar comes to mind,......

Cedar has been used for hedges for many years,.....

Mosquito traps . The one thing with most cedar is, they fill out nicely but if you intend to keep it pruned you have to do it on a regular basis. The greenery is mostly on the outer part of the branches with the inner part of the bush mostly woody. If you let it go for too long then get aggressive, you end up with just bare brown branches.


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I’m ok with them growing wide, I’d just have to see how far to plant them apart, how many I need and how many years it would take to have them grow to fill in the area we need for privacy.

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Old 05-19-2020, 06:26 AM   #11
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


Most evergreens want to grow bigger and bigger. Spruces and pines in particular want to ge wider s well as taller.

\You can retard but not eliminate this annual size increase by laboriously "pinching off" a portion of each new growth finger or sprout in the spring. You might get away with pinching off all of the new growth on some years but after repeated pinching off no more new growh occurs giving bare branches.

One thing you might do is plant a lot of trees intending to replace every third tree every year when they start to get too big. This would require more than one row of trees to provide a continuous privacy shield and that would consume a lot of land square footage.
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Old 05-19-2020, 06:51 AM   #12
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


I am partial to the leyland cypress for screening. Not that expensive for a 6' container tree and they grow about three to four feet a year feet a year.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:28 AM   #13
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


@4rpr , welcome!

I'm in California now, but lived in Northern Ohio for many years and know the climate well, which is a lot like SE Wisconsin.

Hmm. I disagree that blue spruces don't make it for you. Yours look good, considering. They grew well in Ohio, too.

All of the conifers, as mystriss and lenaitch point out, can't be cut back hard, as they won't grow back from nubs the way, say, rose bushes do.

@ZTMAN 's idea of Leyland cypress might be a good one, but be careful; they grow very very fast, and they tend to tip over in high winds. If the prevailing winds might blow them over onto your house, you might want to think twice or be prepared to replace them when they start to get large.

Arbovitae might work; they don't get huge, but to get the privacy you want, you might have to spring for large and expensive plants. There's various types of Hollies, too, and the same caveat applies.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:31 AM   #14
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


@4rpr you might want to consider @Mystriss 's idea about dogwoods. While they're deciduous, I don't think that's going to matter in the winter much, unless you love to sit outside in the cold. (We certainly didn't in Ohio.) By the time they leaf out, it'll be warm enough to sit outside. I suppose you might not like the thought of people leering in your windows, but maybe draw the curtains . . .

Also, some Rhododendrons might work, as might Mountain Laurel, the state flower of Pennsylvania. They're evergreens, but they have broad leaves and pretty flowers in season.

Might as well enjoy the adventure, and let us know what you do.

We're here to help.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:37 AM   #15
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Re: Dying blue spruce dilemma, arborist states no evergreen will survive in this spac


Here's some pictures of mountain laurel.

They do have to have acid soil, so they might not be good for salt spray from the road, though it looks like you have a long distance.
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