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2 sites: hemlock, spruce, fir, or . . . Capitata yews?

16 years ago

I've been trying to figure out how to screen 3 houses from our new house using evergreens in a partially shady location which may be more that "partial" when the oak trees finally leaf out. Locations A & C are near wetlands, and might get more sun than location B which is on top of a hill (10' up) between them. The soil is sandy, so the "well-drained" requirement is met. And we have a huge pile of topsoil that can be used to add to these locations.

I've decided that the Canadian hemlock won't work on the hill, because it will be more dry and exposed there. However, might it work in the 2 lower locations? Since it requires moist (but well-drained soil) what distance from the wetlands--and height above them--would meet the moisture requirement? The spread of the hemlock is 15-20', so can I plant it 8-10 feet from the edge of the wetlands? That would be about 1-1/2 to 2' up in elevation from the surface of the wetlands in high water season. If that would rot the roots, how high up or far away do I need to go for it to be moist but well-drained? Location A would get some morning sun; location B would get some filtered afternoon sun.

Or should I use a spruce (picea glauca Densata) here instead if the soil is not acidic enough for the hemlock? And I have the same questions for this tree as I had for the hemlock since it prefers moist conditions (but nothing is said about "well-drained").

The fir, abies concolor (Concolor), is listed by our local nursery as needing sun to partial sun (at least 4 hours), and says its the most heat and drought tolerant of all firs, once established. Once the somewhat filtered oak canopy forms, will that provide enough shade to make a fir lose its lower branches over time?

Should I just plant yews (Capitata) that will take anything from sun to shade, but of course won't be as tall and give the same effect.

I'd appreciate any opinions, especially if you have experience with these in zone 5a.

Thanks! Anne

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