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Cryptomeria vs Spruce

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by tthomass, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Have a different situation and mixed information from text and others in the industry.

    Area is bright shade in the woods. Customer is in need of screening due to new construction that is visable on the other side of the woods. I'm in favor of the Cryp's and I have them going that way it seems but before they were partial to Spruce.

    I have used Cryptomeria in bright shade and they do fine in bright shade. I have not used a Spruce (Norway for example) in bright shade. I am getting mixed info from text and others in the industry........anyone used them in this application before?

    FATWEASEL LawnSite Senior Member
    from NC
    Posts: 326

    Well, most of your spruces like Norway are not heat tolerant so I would think that a bright shade would be fine considering the soil should be more moist in those conditions as well. What type of 'woods' are they? Pines or hardwoods?

    Those are expensive trees for a screen, are they not?

  3. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Not too bad.......I can get the 8-10 footers for $250 each (they're a solid 10').

    The woods are a mix of VA Pine and hardwoods......mostly harwoods.

    A total of 5 are going in. They did not have the budget for a 'wall' effect. I prefer not to do that anyway..... I sold them on 5 and spacing them on about 15' centers to enable them to grow and develop into nice looking trees vs all into each other. When they're say 20' tall it would be nice ot see some giant Rhodo's etc among them since its in the back of the 1 acre property.
  4. akerr

    akerr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Spruce's will do fine in a mixed woodland. They will have a leggy, thinner habit compared to full sun exposure spruces that are sheered by the growers. Why would spruce's not be heat tolerant? Nursery production of spruce's are open fields with full sun exposure. A Blue Spruce obtains its greatest color in full sun exposures. I would think a spruce is a better choice in a woodland, the cryp are a slow growing evergreen that tend to stay conical longer than a spruce. (a great tree but usually more of a specimen tree). A canadian hemlock would be a great choice. Their natural habit is shady woodlands. you would just have to seller the customer on treating the trees for woolly adelgid. i am sure you know all this; staggering your line will create depeth making your screen more effective and more realistic. i see i am alittle late on this post. hope it went well.
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    Spruce are not going to like the shade. They also are not quite as full a screen due to their very conical shape.

    You might want to look into Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata). It does very well in bright shade and has a pretty good bang for the buck (last time I checked the price). The form is very much like an arborvitae on steroids.
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    That's my experience with blue spruce in shade too. They look miserable.

    I like the hemlocks for shade too.

    Cryptomeria is okay, but every one I've seen is in the sun - can't say I've seen how well they do in shade.
  7. akerr

    akerr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    I have to politely diagree with AGLA, we have 25ft norway spruces planted about 20yrs ago by my parents in a mixed hardwood forest. They are surrounded by large mature oaks and poplars. the spruces look great and love the habitat. they are not as large as others planted in full sun but they are still healthy and happy in the dapple shade.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    I have not seen Cryptomeria in the shade either, but most non-broadleaf evergreens do not do well in the shade. They tend to self prune to shed areas of the plant that use more energy than they produce.

    Broadleafs evolved by having bigger panels to catch limited light from one direction. Needle leafs evolved to have a greater surface in all directions to use the ample light in full sun conditions while minimizing the blocking of light to the other needles around them.
  9. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 319

    :dizzy: We all base business decisions on anecdotal stories about what someone remembers from 25 years ago.

    Don't you think a full sun grown 10' spruce will have drastic transplant shock and lose most of its shape and tissue being planted in the shade versus a small spruce planted 25 years ago that has acclimated over that period of time?

    Neither cryptomeria nor spruces will do well planted in a partial shade environment after growing in a production nursery in the full sun. Clients are paying you to provide a solution to a problem, not what your buddy remembers from one occurrence in the past.:hammerhead:

    Like AGLA says, try shade tolerant plants. A shattered Nellie R Stevens will look better in the shade as it releafs, as would skip laurel, Alleghany viburnum, leatherleaf viburnum, Ilex opaca. Hemlock will shatter but recover and look better than your first two choices, cryptomeria and spruce.

    Good Luck
  10. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,742

    The question involves screening rather than survivability. The idea is to get something whose foliage thrives under these conditions and then to support its ability to continue to provide the desired screening through good installation practices and maintenance practices if the client is willing to support a maintenance program.

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