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What are some good fast growing trees, shrubs to use as a screen, about 500 feet long or so? We're in North Alabama, zone 7. Thanks, y'all.
 

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agmantoo
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best to plant native plants to your area. Having said that we here in NC we use a lot of Leyland Cypress to create living spite fences. This is a non native plant from a genetic cross.
 

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Poplars make a fast growing windbreak here in North Alabama.
 

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We're in zone 5, but we've had great success with hybrid poplars. They come in screen or tree varieties. They are not as short lived as lombardies, but they don't live as long as an evergreen hedge. We planted a screen of them about 300 feet long (I think that they are a little less than 10 feet apart), and then planted white pine and norway spruce directly behind. That way, by the time the poplars die off, the evergreens will be tall and thick. They must grow at least 3 feet a year, maybe more. I got mine through our extension agencies annual tree sale, but I've seen them in catalogs a few times also. I paid a dollar a piece for them. Good luck!
 

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I would go for a hedgerow effect like they do in the English countryside.
Layer the row at least three plants deep. Mix in evergreens (spruce, hemlock, pine, thuja) with a lot edibles like hazelnut (it suckers), gooseberry, currant, blueberry, saskatoon, paw paw, mulberry, elderberry etc. You can also add in flowering shrubs like lilac, viburniums, and virginia pasture rose for more color. Trumpet vine can work, since you have a good amount of space. The problem with poplars is that they do not live very long. You might want to mix in a few to start with the idea that other things will fill in as they die off. Try to AVOID invasives like autumn olive, japanese honeysuckle, japanese barberry and multifora rose, they will only make you miserable in the long run.
 

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Clumping Bamboo....Non invasive, blocks sight and sound, grows fast and larger types will provide handy materials for plant stakes,fencing, etc. Glen
 

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Bamboo planting was a HUGE mistake for us. Please do a search on this site for a great big discussion on it.

Go with native or easily controlled plants. It will be easier on you in the long run. Try evergreens like holly as well.
 

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marisal, Thanks for posting that site. I'm in Florida and haven't run across that one yet. Our new property only has one small sickly oak. lol
 

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june02bug said:
marisal, Thanks for posting that site. I'm in Florida and haven't run across that one yet. Our new property only has one small sickly oak. lol
No problem! :)

Yeah, Our front 12 acres is flat and open, we want A LOT of privacy, so we are going to need A LOT of trees.

We will probably get most from that site, since they have just about everyone we want. We will order a few at first just to make sure they are of good quality.

~Marisa :)
 

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Lemon BottleBrush --- callistemon citrinus Makes excellent screen
Fire Thorn
Photinia--- Photinia Fraseri

Evergreen Elm --- Ulmus Parvifolia pendens... Not sure if it is good in your area but it is evergreen, grows fast (5 to 6 ft a year when young) and becomes 40 to 50 ft tall in only 25+ yrs....depending on care..

Id go with poplars on the outside row, leaving plenty of room for a tractor between the trees and your fenceline , then Id plant a row or two of evergreen trees, and finally a row of shrubs and bushes... They should be offset so they dont look like a row of fence posts when your done .......
I have 900+ feet across the front of our property that we are current doing this to. Mainly to give us more privacy and to block the view of cars gong by and they noise... It amazes me how much people slow way down and stare at our place. We are considered the "new " people since weve only been here a little over a year, so if we add a coop, or put in fenceline everyone slows down to see our progress. Weve had people actually PULL IN to ask what we are building... When we were putting up the shop everyone would stop by to ask where we got it, is it hard to put up etc.... Makes it hard to get much done on a weekend let me tell you LOL Seriously I can easily cause a pile up on this road by adding something like a shop door, or paint something a new color Its rather funny.
ALso check into what your friends and neighbors have growing... Any small trees they may not want, or bushes etc. I just dug up over 100 pine and cedar trees that a friend needed cleared. He would have used a tractor and just smooshed them. This time of year the ground is good and wet, its easy to pop them out and plant them at your place. The tallest I was able to get without breaking the main tap root was 5 ft tall pine... The cedars have an extensive root system so you cant dig them up less they are smaller... My policy is if it grows its mine... No oleandor or poisonous stuff of course. I started out with 4 trees, Not counting the 100 new ones I am up to 60 + various trees and bushes now :) I intend on having a forest :)
 

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quietstar said:
Clumping Bamboo....Non invasive, blocks sight and sound, grows fast and larger types will provide handy materials for plant stakes,fencing, etc. Glen
BCR said:
Bamboo planting was a HUGE mistake for us.
Yes, BCR - but you didn't use Clumping Bamboo. The difference between the commonly feared (and rightfully so) running bamboo and clumping bamboo is real. The usual fear reaction to running bamboo is reasonable and justified, and the usual assumption that there IS NO clumping bamboo because ALL bamboo MUST BE the same as that horrible running bamboo is certainly common.



But unjustified.


Clumping bamboo, if you can find a variety that will work in your climate (and there ARE varieties that can work from tropical to horrible frigid frozen Chinese winters) is definitely worth knowing about.
 

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Don...Thanks for your informed post about Bamboo, BCR just leaped to a wrong conclusion. Clumping Bamboo has outstanding qualities as a sound and vision barrier and is NOT invasive! Running Bamboo is not a danger to wise land owners. Not a super plant, it will die out if mowed to the ground constantly. The best and most intellegent control is water surround and regular harvest of all the tasty, tender shoots for stir fry....Those of us in the know enjoy...Glen
 

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....or you can surround it by grazing animals. Under those conditions, even running bamboo needs protection. A good fence and it will be contained to a twenty-foot clump whose areas are outside (inside?) the reach of a cows or donkeys teeth.
 

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Don and Glen, I can imagine clumping bamboo is a wonderful thing. I have never known anyone that grew it so I cannot comment on clumping bamboo.

Running bamboo is a nuisance and a poor choice for longterm growing. I think that was an interesting comment about "wise land owners" Glen. How long have you grown it?

Roughly 12 years ago we planted running bamboo. I know that is what it is NOW, but then I was told it wouldn't be hard to contain at all. Just mow it my friend said. Just plant a deep barrier around the plants another said. Easy to contain if there are deer around a third agreed. A fourth not-so-much-a-friend said not to plant it. So, we ignored him and we planted a line along an edge of our property (15 feet inside our boundary) that stretched for 200 yards.

It didn't do much for a year, just a few spindly stalks that were spread thinly over the area. By year 3 they were tall and evergreen and a wonderful screen. Birds loved them in the snow. Neighbors loved the green. We ate the shoots. No deer ate any of it. In fact, no wildlife ate any of it. By years four and five, it was a sight to behold. Lush and whispered in the wind. Still mowed the new shoots that were overstepping their boundary each week during high growth times (Spring and Summer).

Then the war began. Shoots began showing up 15 feet inside a neighbor's land which means they travelled 30 feet from their origin underground where they weren't seen and under regularly mowed lawn. They travelled into our fields where we did not want them. Even the young shoots got tougher and tougher to cut down as they increased in diameter and toughness at initial growth. Thus began my Bamboo Eradication Project that is in its fifth year. Neighbors have been great--they loved it too. But I have spent countless hours mowing 2-3 times a week during high growth times, just to deal with what the roots are trying to send up still. I cut it ALL down to the ground repeatedly throughout the spring/summer/fall for several years now and yet I still expect to see shoots this spring.

I think a "wise land owner" would want to save the hassle of maintaining control of the bamboo down the road. Might be fine now if you have a pasture full of something that eats it (I tried giving some to a friend's cows--no go), but soon as you leave it untended you will have a mess. The mowing must be done religiously for it to work. When shoots get thicker, as they do as the plant ages, you then have to use a blade on a weed whacker. I actually used chainsaws to cut down the big stands. There is no way we could eat that many shoots to make any kind of dent in the growth.

So for those of you considering bamboo, read this as a cautionary tale.
 

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A real Quack!
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I got a similar situation, 600' of road frontage, a very slight incline up to our living room, bedroom, dining room windows, 400' away. We also have poachers shooting deer in our front yard (8 acres), dragging them to their pickups and speeding off in the middle of the night.

We were looking into putting up cattle panels (expensive) with electric on top and sides (S.S. wire is free for me), and then planting Nanking Cherry, Native Plum & Russian Olive as a visual block. I'm an idiot on this stuff, I just put it in the ground and/or cut it down, kinda guy - and I don't want 600' of hedge to trim, EVER. My experience with Russian olives is they grow FAST. The rest is to provide some berries for the birds (our ducks & turkeys). We were thinking of transplanting thorned blackberries.

I don't like to rebuild fences, nor do I like the neighbor's dogs harassing our flocks, so I'm leaning towards treated posts and 16' cattle panels with a metal post in the middle of each span. In addition to the birds, we'll be having a few cows and possibly some goats. Any fence can be easily installed on the road frontage, it's open and flat.

Half way up the field, where we were going to put a temporary electric fence, we were thinking of planting populars, again because they grow fast.

Any suggestions?

Bill
 

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I enjoyed my first Bamboo grove on the outskirts of Tokyo in 1961. I observed it under cultivation in Laos, Thiland,Taiwan, Guam and up close in Danang, Vietnam. The large Running Bamboo reproduces itself quickly and provides many products that now come from our dwindling timber forrests. We will see Bamboo plantations in the USA ere long. "water surround" is a good method to control invasive Running Bamboo. I'm planting it on a long island in my pasture lake. Despite the claims of the late night Wok salesman, Bamboo does not grow in water....Glen
 
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