The task of finding an excellent privacy tree for a yard--one that will look great and thrive for years to come--can be a bit daunting. You have to find the right tree and research how it will survive in the environment you're about to put it in. Then you have to get it transplanted into the yard, which depending on the tree can be a huge undertaking itself. Then the worst of it should be over, providing it isn't a tree that requires a lot of maintenance. A lot to ask of a tree.
I want to spotlight a couple types of trees that can take a lot of the stress out of the project. There are two trees that, while they may not be the perfect tree for every yard, are very good at simplifying the process. The Redspire Pear and Cleveland Select Pear.
The first thing to know about these trees is they're small; small enough for a homeowner to handle alone with the aid of a full-sized pick up truck or a trailer. If you handle the tree correctly you won’t need a tree transplant crew to do it for you. To transplant the tree you'll need to bag the root ball in a burlap sack. Care must be taken at this stage to not cause undue trauma to the roots, so move with care.
Now besides the fact that the tree is small enough to be handled, there are a few more reasons we recommend these trees for a yard. They are very universal, able to grow in poor soil conditions and in small spaces. They're drought and heat resistant and tolerate pollution. The trees have restricted growth in a columnar shape, and the roots go deep but stand little chance of damaging nearby structures or sidewalks. They are a fast growing shade tree. This makes them popular trees for lawns, sidewalks, medians and other narrow planting areas. You can even plant them in summer and they stand a good chance of surviving but extra care must be taken as this is not the optimal planting time for a tree and extra watering during the first summer is crucial.
There is also the factor of its foliage. The leaves form a wide and surprising range of fall colors simultaneously. They produce white blossoms early and profusely, so you'll have quite a show for your yard in early spring. And they hold their leaves sometimes into November! The Redspire has small fruits that remain through the winter, which will attract birds for a much needed meal. So it's a very attractive tree for a yard in every season.
They may not be perfect for every case, but they certainly are very versatile privacy trees that can be a great addition to a landscape.
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Ross Latham is owner of Big Trees Inc. (www.bigtreesupply.com) in Snohomish, WA, one of the largest Seattle tree nurseries, specializing in tree transplanting.
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