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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-13          66167



Hello everyone,
Need advice on building a privacy barrier w/ dwarf fur or spruce (open to suggestions) I have at least 128 ft that i would like to build a nice barrier that will cover a 6' chainlink fence between properties. How do I estimate how much dirt to build a mound ? how high do I make the mound?and how do I estimate how many trees? I do not want a tree to grow full size like a 30 ft spruce, just high enough to give some protection (under 10ft), so i would assume a dwarf species?
This is not my strong suite (as you can tell) so any advice is appreciated. I'm located in NY (long Island) so the climate conditions are typical NE conditions.

Thanks in advance
Ducati996

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2003-10-14          66179


I'd look at how fast a species grows in your area. You likely want privacy now and many trees are pretty slow growing in some areas. Some species limb up from the ground after they start maturing and then there goes the privacy. Some species are Christmas tree shaped and also wouldn't provide great privacy. If you ever want to take them out it might be good to avoid species that tend to form taproots. Poplar grow fast and provide decent dense bush for a few years till they get bigger but they loose their leafs in the winter and again there goes the privacy. Besides most deciduous species make for pretty ratty bush--especially during winter.

I know these are issues rather than suggestions. I'd probably think of something like a cedar hedge myself and that would still take a few years.

I don't know about mounding. Here in logging country reforested areas are mounded only if the soil is bad enough that only jack pine would grow very well. A nursery where the stock would be bought could advise on spacing for a particular species as well as species that hedge up well. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2652 NorthWest NJ
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2003-10-14          66187


I assume you are talking about building a berme and planting on top of it? This is a very common solution to privacy issues. A berme can take alot of dirt, a tandem load is about 20 yards and can make a pile about 12 feet wide, 4- 5 feet high and about 20 feet long. Of course that is loose soil and will compact somewhat. Where I am if it were high end screened enriched topsoil the load would run about $600.

The most common thing on bermes in NJ is a combination mix of white pine, douglas fir, and a few hardwoods, along with some leafy shrubs only my wife knows the names of.

These trees all grow quite big, but if you like to trim you can prune them like shrubs if you like. If you have deer like I do avoid the white pine the deer think it is pretty tasty in the Winter time, use doug fir they don't ever eat it, in fact they will eat juniper instead (gotta be hungry) and leave the doug fir alone.

If you have a very narrow width and want to delay trimming you could use Alberta Spruce which are very small dwarf plants that only get to be 4 feet in diameter,by maybe 10 feet at maturity but this will be very pricey costing you $65 for a 3 foot plant, that grows painfully slow.

There is also a bluish tint plant that is very cheap narrow and tall that I don't care for that is very popular for privacy screens that don't have much space available.

Dennis
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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2003-10-14          66192


Have you considered Austrees? They are of the species Salix matsudana x alba, a form of Willow tree. They are not for everyone or all locations but I can tell you that these things grow FAST and if you keep them pruned you can train them to grow into a bush, tree, or hedge. I planted them on my property and they grow faster than anything I have including Tulip Poplar and they are fast. They need LOTS of water and do not like drought. They have survived the winters here in TN but not sure how they would do in NY. They are easy to grow new trees from cuttings so you don't have to buy more if you want more later. Here are some links to some pros and cons:

http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Trees/austree.htm

http://www.linnextension.org/mg/public/austree.htm

http://www.homesteadingtoday.com/homestead/Countryside/Wc85ad8f91c5c9.htm ....


Link:   Rocky Mountain Austree Inc.

 
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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Art White
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 6885 Waterville New York
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2003-10-14          66198


Where you are looking to do the hedge is it in the sandy type soil on the end of Long Island? They do have plenty of shrubs growing out there to sample from. ....

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-14          66210


Some good ideas !! Dennis gave me some dimensions based on 20 yrds worth of fill. I think 12 ft for me is too wide, I'm thinking 6 ft max. and I think 4 ft heigh would be the max. I want to go. I know have to think total lenght to cover is 128 ft. straight line. Alberta dawrf sounds close for sure, I'm not looking into a fast growing maintence freak of a tree !! it will be watered of course, and the soil content is the north non-sandy part of Long island(very good).The existing fence height is 6 ft vinyl chain link, to give some privacy between properites. I like my neighbors, just dont want to see them everyday in their yard. We have enough space 2 acres parcels
but line of sight on one side is open. This is a very common application, which I'm now ready to start thinking about doing ( Now that I have my JD4100 that is). I think I will spot the same layout on someones yard, and take a digital picture of what I want. Just dont know how to estimate the amount of dirt, or plants (with space for growing)....
You guys are very helpful indeed, I appreciate it fully !!

Ducati996 ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2003-10-14          66215


Ducati, take it from experience, you will not build a berm that is 4' high but only 6' wide, not unless it is made of concrete. The maximum you should make a slope is 2:1 (two horizontal feet for each vertical foot) which works out to 8' wide, EACH SIDE of the center line for a total width of 16' for the berm.

If you want to be able to comfortably cut the grass on it with a riding mower you should stay to a maximum of 3:1 for a width of 12' each side of center for a total width of 24' not inclding any flat area on top, or a set-back from the property line. Some municipalities require a set-back in case the soil slumps down off the hill, that way it doesn't run out onto a neighbours property. In your case you mentioned a chain-link fence, in this case you should leave the berm back from the fence at least a few feet to allow you to cut the grass there without getting stuck in the fence.

IMHO, unless you are REALLY stuck on the idea of a berm, I would suggest you seriously consider planting a double wide row of swamp (white) cedars along the fence line. The cost will be a lot less and it will be easier to maintain in the long run.

Best of luck. ....

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____________________________________________________________________________________
Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-14          66236


I'm probably not explaining clearly how I invision it.
Its common around here, where a row of Dwarf trees (evergreens, pine, fur or other)line up next to the fence line. The mulch/fill part will not be mowed, smaller berme than whats being described is used. An actual application
which I just got feedback on, was using Arborvities and/or white pines and the berme was no bigger than 30" high and 8 ft wide. Mulch was the covering w/ weed control cloth underneath...does this paint a clearer picture? This will be butted up next to the fence line, so no mower will be used between berme and fence line. ....

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Cutnfill
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13 New Jersey
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2003-10-14          66258


Just a couple of thoughts. You will have to figure on watering trees planted on a berm more often than ones on flat ground. Your plant material will be limited if you want to berm, stay around 6 feet tall, be evergreen, and not be triming constantly.

Dwarf Alberta spruce grows very slowly and thus makes it a very expensive piece to use. They also can be prone to insects, Red Spider for one. A nice looking plant could become ugly pretty quick.

Dark American Arborvite would do well. They do have a 12'
top out range if never trimed. Your best bet would be to use upright Japanese Holly if you want a hedge where you can easily control the height. Dwarf Burford Holly or Chinese Holly if you want to leave space between the plants.

Number of plants depends on the plant you choose their size both at planting and maturity and effect you want instant or with time. If Bissett Nursery is close to you talk to them for ideas. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2003-10-15          66279


cutnfill,

You must be familiar with this area called Long Island. Bissett is close enough, and the largest nursery I would say on the island..your tips are very much welcomed!!
I'm glad the size I'm trying to descibe is a little clearer.
I know exactly what application Murf described, and I would apply that type if I'm building a barrier to filter out lets say road noise and its view. Too big for what I'm doing. How does one calculate the amount of fill need for 128' with an approx 2' height, 8' wide max berme...
I will go to Bissett this weekend...

Thanks again,

Ducati996 ....

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Cutnfill
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13 New Jersey
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2003-10-15          66280


Duc,

Figure amount of cubic yards needed

128'x2'x8'= 2,048.00 cubic feet Divide by 27 the number of cubic feet in a yard = 75.86 cubic yards

I would suggest local topsoil if not composted soil from a local supply yard or excavator. The material usually comes in 20 cubic yard loads on a tri-axle dump truck which would be cheeper. Depending on material make-up soil can settle as much as 20%. Some places sell by the ton to make sure count is honest. They could help with conversion to yards. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 5406 Upper Ottawa Valley
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2003-10-15          66281


In building birms, I'd study the drainage of both yours and your neighbour's properties. You probably don't want to give either of you any unexpected ponds, skating rinks or erosion.

White pine was mentioned. I'm thinking that must be something different than eastern white pine, which get to be big trees around here although it takes them awhile. We're in an overlap between Boreal and Great-Lakes/St. Lawrence forests and most everything grows here but spruce and fir grow faster than pine. Small white spruce grow more than a foot per year.

Eastern whites are among my favourite trees and our privacy bush has both white and red pine and as well as birch, poplar maple etc. The pines are 50' - 60' tall and a few are larger. I like red pine for rows and think they'd do better planed close than white pine. We have a row that are probably 10-15 years old and are 10' tall. They've just started to limb up and would look good on a birm. We also have a blue spruce (not native here) a former owner planted from seed 50 years ago. It is about 30' and hasn't limbed up nor does balsam fir. The spruce is about 20' in diameter at the base and they couldn't be planted close.

I don't think you could limit the height of white pine or quite a few trees by pruning. Especially white pine turn into misshapen Gorgon trees if their leaders are cut. We have a white blister rust here that kills the leaders and the resulting trees aren't attractive at all.
....

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Cutnfill
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 13 New Jersey
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2003-10-15          66282


Duc,

Fingers working faster than the mind this morning. I gave you total cubic yards and did not figure on elevation drop on the sides of the berm. Figure on using 3/4 total amount or roughly 60 cubic yards. If you don't like the height it is easier to get more that find a home for too much.

Tom is right make sure on the drainage issue. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-19          66571


I have decided on Arborvites for this project around 5' tall would be a good affordable size. I calculated spacing from diameter of each tree being 2' apart. The reason for that is to give more immediate privacy, I dont think it would harm the trees being that close. I calculated for 128' I would need close to 60 trees. The actual size of the berme could now be approx under 2 ft high 4 or 5 ft wide max. The quote on 5' aborvites are $35 each- is that ok?
Most likely weed cloth and mulch will be the top cover.
I dont think I can get this done before winter (too many other things that take priority) but early spring is likely..

Any comments or things to look out for with this design?

Thanks in advance..
Ducati996
....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-10-19          66572


Do you have a need for an immediate barrier? Or could you wait a year or two? I have found that planting smaller ones will not only be cheaper but they will be healthier in the end. Smaller ones will build stronger root systems and seem to transplant easier. I have planted bigger arbor vitaes and had terrible problems with them blowing over in high winds. This meant staking them, and I'm sure you don't want to stake 60 of them on a hedge. As fast as they grow I'd bet you could plant a 2 footer and a 5 footer side by side and within a couple of years they would be the same size with the younger one being healthier. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-19          66573


kwschumm,

The need for immediate privacy would win over. When I get around to doing it all, I would want something to give me some immediate results to my goal. The price difference wasnt that much between 2-3 and the 4-5. I dont have a wind problem under normal conditions of course :)
I will keep you suggestions in mind when this comes together in the spring...

Thanks,

Ducati996

....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2003-10-19          66574


You know your weather conditions best. Where we are we normally don't have wind problems but we still seem to get one or two 70+ mph windstorms each year. Of course that's when everything with weak roots blow over. The younguns seem to get used to it and cope much better. Anyway, this doesn't apply to you. I sure got tired of propping trees back up and staking them. Some of them may never cope without stakes.

Best of luck with your project! ....

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Ducati996
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2003-10-19          66580


we have been lucky with the wind enemy (hurricanes especially) I do understand that they are prone to snow damage with a heavy snow fall. I wouldnt mind brushing them off when that happens, like I did with the other ornmentals
with last years big snow season...This will be a early spring project definately ....

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Cutnfill
Join Date: Sep 2003
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2003-10-19          66584


Price of the plants seems pretty fair. Use that formula for figuring the new amount of topsoil needed. Plug in 4/5' instead of 8' figure 3/4 of the total to account for berming.
....

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gauthier
Join Date: Jun 1999
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2003-10-25          67086


White pines grow fast,get 3 year or so transplants,they come bare rooted and are about a foot and a half tall and not to expensive,and they grow about a ft a year,if your in more of a hurry,get white pine balled with roots live chrismas trees,costly. Don't know why you want a burm. Richard ....

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Ducati996
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2003-10-26          67113


rgauthier,

You havent seen either white pines, dwarf spruce or Arborvites, or any other choice on a berme before? It adds to the effect, and makes mowing and weed control growth easier..its real popular around these parts, and besides being popular it looks real nice!!

Ducati996
....

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wigglybridge
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2003-10-26          67130


In addition to adding quick height and sometimes ameliorating the soil conditions, a very important function of the berm is sound reduction, which is why you often see it along roadways.

People frequently plant trees thinking they will cut down noise. From both my sound engineer present and from my past in landscape architecture, it doesn't work that way. Even a fairly dense planting only stops the highest frequencies; to really stop broad range noise you need mass and complete coverage.

For visual privacy, though, trees are a lot more attractive! ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
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2003-10-27          67173


Sounds like the plan is in hand but that's a good comment. I hadn't thought about sound reduction but it sure would help and definitely would be a reason to build a birm. Both the highway and railroad enter mild cuts along our property. At our camp they are twice as far but are above grade. Both are much louder at our camp--especially the railroad, which goes through 50 yards of dense bush before hitting open meadow. The bush doesn't do much about the train noise.

I don't know enough about tree root systems to know if some species fair better on birms than others. Ones that form taproots likely would be the most wind-firm. Another engineer and musician: Good to know and I'll try to keep my focus on tractor stuff. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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gauthier
Join Date: Jun 1999
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2003-10-27          67279


Maybe in the suburbs,I'm a country guy myself,we tend to look at the location not the house first before buying,who in there right mind would buy a place than build a high burm around it to try and keep out noisy neighbors,and noise,these is why we got democrats and republicans,guess which one I am. Richard ....

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Ducati996
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Posts: 347 New York
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2003-10-28          67346



posted edited by Ducati996 to keep the peace ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7154 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2003-10-28          67352


MOMMMMM, they're at it again !!!! ....

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Ducati996
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2003-10-28          67356


Actually Murf I'm finished on this thread because the advice
I received earlier in the post was great. I will follow it in the spring when I start this...there should be no need to waste bandwidth on this thread now on this topic IMO..

Ducati996


P.S I keep getting the emails to advise me someone posted on this post, how do you shut it off? ....

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DennisCTB
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2003-10-28          67358


Go back to the thread and click on edit, then change your notify preference on the original question. ....

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Ducati996
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2004-02-10          76589


I have started to think about this project again even though
I have plenty of winter left to deal with...I realized I have a picture that shows the fence line I'm looking to put a natural barrier along. Its picture #16, and I got some great advice earlier. Maybe this picture will help in visualizing what I'm trying to do.

Ducati ....

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Chief
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2004-02-10          76590


Duc, you have a lot of nice toys!!!! ;o) I almost forgot to look at the fence row. ;o) Hedges come to mind for me to plant along the fence row. I think it would look nice although you would have to periodically trim them. ....

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TomG
Join Date: Feb 2002
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2004-02-11          76616


I'll be following progress. Highway surveyors have been working away along our frontage. They may want to grab 7.5' of our property to solve their road bed drainage problems. If it comes to that it'll probably compromise our existing row of mature white and red pine so we'll be looking for a replacement privacy barrier and substantial compensation.

I guess the fence is along a property line and will stay. I'd think in terms of how much slope a birm could tolerate without erosion problems. To get much height a birm might have to be pretty wind and that would set the tree line further from the fence. A retaining wall on the fence side would solve any erosion problems but that sounds like a lot of work.

....

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Ducati996
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2004-05-25          86824


This is a picture of what I was talking about originally
but in this picture it needed to be only 50 ft...
I lucked out in finding Arboritaes 6-7 ft for $40 each, delivered free..

See link below

Duc ....

Picture Link

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TomG
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2004-05-26          86885


Pretty good-looking trees and the mound as well. I don't imagine they'll limb up as they mature like our pine so the privacy would remain.

We lucked out as well. We talked to our highway dept. A junior engineer stopped by on a Sunday when she was returning home from a personal trip and took a bunch of pictures. The engineers and consultants decided they didn't need the land after all. They'll even write a requirement to protect our tree roots into the construction contract. ....

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yooperpete
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2004-05-26          86907


The arbs make a nice barrier. Nice job! Another way to do it getting more privacy is to make (2) rows and stagger them at mid point. You can spread them slightly further apart but will end up with a few more bushes. That was a very good deal for the price of them. The berm is tall and narrow, so wood chips may not stay well. I put a clump of 8' blue spruces on a tall burm; used a weed barrier and covered it with river rock. Makes a nice maintenance free natural barrier without erosion.

I also noticed the 2 stage blower on your other pictures. Does that work very good? I picked up another cub a few weeks ago. It was an older model 782 (red) but only had 389 hours on it. It has a 2 stage blower about 46-48" wide with metal cab and 3 point hitch for $880.00. The blower mounts to the 3 point and sticks further out front (not a cub blower). It has tire chains and a new battery. It was a 1984 model tractor with less hours than my mid-90's models. I thought I got a pretty good deal. I also paid another $87.00 for a 4500 Watt tractor mounted generator. If you say yours works good, I may consider using it next winter vs: a FEL and backblade on my CUT. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2004-05-26          86911


Ducati, nice job! I am in NY and have planted 20 5' skyrocket Junipers 3 feet apart for a privacy barrier. Got them last fall at 1/2 price. In front of that I planted 6 small 1 gallon Thuga (Thuja) pines as a test. In another area I have also gathered several "burning bushes" from my property and made a row that created an instant 4-6' hedge.

My wife has had me planting so many blue spruce all over the place that I can pull them when they get too large and close and move them around. I think that now that my poolyard is done I will be using my tractor mostly for rearranging trees and bushes.

....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Ducati996
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 347 New York
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2004-05-26          86915


Hi Yooperpete,

I'm very, very happy with my Cub 3204 and blower !!
the 782 is a very desirable machine and I think the engine is rubber mounted for smoothness? The 2 stage throws snow up to 70 ft (maybe more)..I like using it over my JD4100 w/FEL and Rear Blade for snow removal - considerably quicker
and cleaner. Of course on gravel the FEL and rear blade work better

Duc ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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funchy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 128 north eastern corner of Maryland
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2004-06-08          88115


Sorry I can't help you much with fir or spruce specifically, but I can share with you my own experiences planting a privacy barrier. I looked at those trees as well as leyland cypress, arborvitae, and willows. I ended up trying a section of bamboo, and it has worked so well for me that I'm going to stick with it as my barrier plant. It needs no maintenance, will grow in your climate, will outgrow weeds, doesn't have a real problem with disease or insect, and it fills in quickly. I think the thing bugged me about the other trees/shrubs was having to look through the gaps between shrubs for the years it took them to fill in. By the second year my bamboo had almost totally blocked the view of next door.

The only down side I can think of is that it might do a little too well, depending on the variety you choose. It might mean you trim back the stand a little each year to control its growth.

Hieght, cane size, and growth vary alot; there are many varieties for sale out there. It pays to ask a few questions as the nursery to be sure you get the one that's best for you. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2004-06-09          88125


Funchy, that is interesting about bamboo being a good barrier. I had a neighbor who grew bamboo next to me in Hudson Valley NY where it goes to -20F. You wouldn't think it would grow here. I need to call her to find out the variety she used. ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
Posts: 2652 NorthWest NJ
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2004-06-09          88128


I have heard stories about Bamboo being too prolific. Some gardeners recommend planting it inside "steel" or "concrete" containers to stop it from spreading into unwanted areas.

I have always been interested in bamboo, but my wife -- the garden expert -- always puts the red flag up when I start the bamboo idea. She is usually right about this stuff, so it is worth researching the variety and how you are going to contain it before you buy into it.

Dennis ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2004-06-09          88129


The bamboo variety we had in our last house grew incredibly slow and was not at all prolific. So Dennis advice is good, you need to research the varieties and select the one that has the characteristics you desire. ....

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Need advice on building a privacy barrier w dwarf fur or spruce

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4285 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2004-06-09          88177


It is interesting that Funchy brought up bamboo. I have monsterous patches of it on the new farm I just bought. It grows in extremely dense thickets on the ridge line slopes under dense canopy forest where it stays pretty damp and humid. It does not grow out in the open or at least I have not found any patches of it there yet. If it would grow in the open, then it would make a fantastic privacy barrier. Some of this stuff is nearly 15 feet high and maybe higher is some places. I have no idea what species it is. Looks really nice and the wildlife seem to like hiding in it. ....

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