How far apart when making a screen

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by SpudsM15, Feb 19, 2006.

  1. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    Guys and gals how far apart do you plant screening trees... I'm talking about colorado spruces, firs, hemlocks, pines and such... Most of the type that grow in my zone have mature hieghts of 40-60' and spreads of 20-35'.
    Now I see these scapers planting these in a zig-zag pattern make 6-8 ft at center of tree... I'm talking about maybe 5-6 trees...
    I have a prop that wants a screen replanted. In there are already some norway spruces and some douglas firs... they are about 7-10', I saw the builder slapping them in no soil amending just pop them in maybe a 2-3' hole and pileing some fill dirt around the base.... Now these trees with the rough summer are on their way out and aren't to much of a screen anymore.... I'm assumeing since it was a new construction that it was placed by a architect, the trees are about 10-15ft apart....
    The cust really wants a nice screen. I proposed ripping all the old stuff out and building a bed maybe up 1' high in center and plant some random spruces to get some different color and texture, along with some boulders and some ground cover, maybe fit in a couple mops and annuals...... How far apart should I space these trees and should I do the zig zag thing... I have about 45 from one corner of house to street and 55 on other corner... I was thinking of a bed about 12-18' wide in a irregular shape...
  2. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    Here is the image that I came up with... Looks alot better on the overhead plan... I went with the bean shaped bed to give it some character, I might just go with a straight bed with rounded edges...
    I put some nellie stevens that will be closest to the power lines... they are spread out on center of plant 6-9', I will be going with 5-7' tall trees for the install maybe 8'....
    I also have gas line under this 30-36" deep... and a sewer 24-36" and than ontop of that the houses drainage runs near the edge of the bed... I'm think about building up this bed alot to try to get some extra clearance for the plants that are near these lines...
    Also this is right up on the street I'm think I won't need the ssteer for this just dump the soil right into the bed area... Do you guys think 3 guys could handle these trees right outta a dump trailer???

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  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    Oldbridge turnpike job huh? At l3east that looks exactly like a new construction on old bridge turnpike in East Brunswick/South River?
  4. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    What is it that he wants to screen? When does he want it to be an effective screen? What is he willing to do to maintain it as an effective screen? And is that going to accomplish the job?

    The answers to those questions will determine the selection of the plant and the spacing. You need to define the function, then form follows function. There is often a tendency to do without knowing exactly why. The more you reduce that, the more effective you will be.

    Spruce is not the best screen in the short term because of the conical form. The gaps toward the top are big.
  5. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Don't plant directly under those elect or telep lines or the tree's will have to be topped or removed once they are on their way up.I agree Spruces do not make a good screening tree.
  6. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    This is in edison over here... Its on a curve on a busy street... I told him that Its going to take a few years for it to fill in nicely to become a good screen. Sheshovel I definatly don't plant anything under utility lines that will come near them!!! This year I was trying to trim a spruce that was growing around the lines the tree had like 4 shoots going up looked really stupid so the idiot I am I went up there on a fiberglass ladder of course... And was trimming above the lines being very careful, but I let my attention of the lines go when i was moving down a step on the ladder and the little speed the trimmer has cut right threw the ground line and shorted out!!! scared the crap outta me.... Never again will i try a stunt like that!
    Umm ok any recommendations on what I should put as a screen there... He'se looking for something that will have height in the future.. as we will expand the bed as needed... Another question How deep will the root zone be on these trees and will they affect the utility lines if they come in contact??
  7. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    15' would be the closest I would plant unless useing a columner type tree..then closer
  8. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Austrian Pine..12' on centers staggered,
    Jap BlacK Pine..8' on centers staggered
    Eastern White Pine 15' on centers staggered
    Hedge Maple
    Leland Cypress
    Canadian Hemlock
    all suggestions for NJ as barrier or hedge tree's
    I have a book that classifies all tree's that will grow in every state by color,sizes,foliage,barriers,intersting,bark,street trees,suburban tree's,Pyramidal,Columnar,Weeping,Rounded or Globed,Soil tolerance,Pest resistant ect,ect,ect
  9. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    I like Sheshovels recommendations.
  10. SpudsM15

    SpudsM15 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    Thanks for all the help sheshovel....

    Do you think that the nellie stevens holly's will be ok as a screen... Also do you think I should keep the same type of tree all the way down or mix it up a little...

    The goal of this screen is to screen the visibility of the street at the first floor level...

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