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Old 03-24-2017, 05:19 PM   #1
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I have been thinking about posting this for a while.

Although, I am still on the fence as to my vision for our front yard, I am beginning to consider a few smaller trees for out front yard.

Originally, I planned an open area that would not his the house. This would, hopefully, be a combination of lower growing natives--a mosaic of lower growing natives (grasses and short forbs--think thin grasses, pussytoes, Phlox subulata, and many more) used as a lawn substitute. In addition to these, I have also included some short shrubs (sweetfern, blueberry, sheep laurel, New Jersey tea, and more). One section near the road includes prickly pear cactus and a tiny rocky shale barren.

I like the idea of keeping an open area and not blocking the view of the house from the road, but I also want to block my view of the road from my front windows!

I am starting to think about planting maybe three small trees--or tall shrubs. I don't want to shade out this mostly sunny spot (shaded mostly by the house itself at times), because, I would still like to grow the above mentioned sun-loving shrubs and forbs.

Any Suggestions?

Thank you.
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Old 03-24-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
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A side question...

As I have often stated, I like the idea of landscaping, not only with natives, but also with natives that would naturally grow together in a natural habitat. As I listed (in my initial post) the plants I already have in the front, I began to wonder if they would naturally occur together. That said, they are not all within the same groupings.

Any ideas whether I have strayed drastically from a reasonable group of natives or Not?

Thanks.
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Old 03-24-2017, 06:58 PM   #3
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I think tastes might just differ on this sort of thing. I like privacy and wouldn't mind being hidden from the road at all. A mixed hedgerow with an informal assemblage of tall, showy shrubs and small trees (like American elderberries, crabapples, chokecherries, and of course... Amelanchier!) would sound perfect to me for a large space along the road. Then you could still have an open area between the hedgerow and the house (if I have a good sense of the amount of space you have).
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:49 PM   #4
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I think tastes might just differ on this sort of thing. I like privacy and wouldn't mind being hidden from the road at all. A mixed hedgerow with an informal assemblage of tall, showy shrubs and small trees (like American elderberries, crabapples, chokecherries, and of course... Amelanchier!) would sound perfect to me for a large space along the road. Then you could still have an open area between the hedgerow and the house (if I have a good sense of the amount of space you have).
When we first moved here, I would have lived putting in tall evergreens along the side yard that meets the road out front--however, there is a power line that prevented this. I guess I got used to it.

Also, there is just a wooded slope opposite our front yard, so it still feels rather private. However, I agree, that I would expect to want more privacy. For some reason, in the beginning, I kept thinking that (for resale value maybe?) We should not block the view of the house.

Now, after I had already begun my "shorter shrubs plan", i am having a hard time making a major change to it--and I still have the power line issue out front.

There are two dogwoods out front (on off to the side that was already there and another I planted out front maybe 8 feet from the front and close to the corner) and a witch hazel that I added in front. I also have Amelanchier nearby.

I like your idea of the mixed hedgerow, and I am incorporating it elsewhere on our property.

I guess I am thinking that I'd like something kind of rugged that would grow in full sun and blend well with the sweetfern and highbush blueberry.
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Old 03-25-2017, 08:35 AM   #5
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Sweetfern? Is the soil acidic there? You could definitely cover the area with huckleberries and lowbush blueberries if you want. They handle rocky, full-sun, acidic conditions well.
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Old 03-25-2017, 12:56 PM   #6
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Sweetfern? Is the soil acidic there? You could definitely cover the area with huckleberries and lowbush blueberries if you want. They handle rocky, full-sun, acidic conditions well.
I haven't had the soil tested, but both the sweetfern and blueberry are thriving there.

I actually had pictured lowbush blueberry...and have begun to establish it in various places on the property. Although I put one blueberry bush out front, I have most of them away from the house--I guess, in the back of my mind, I am just a little concerned that I will end up attracting a bear to our front door!

Aside from any rocks that I've moved there, the front yard isn't really naturally rocky.

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 03-25-2017, 01:01 PM   #7
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Where I grew up, my father had planted three black gum trees (Nyssa sylvatica) out front. These are one of my (many) favorites. Over the years, I have added several to the yard, but none in front of the house.

I am starting to think about them as an option, but they would really be too tall (especially where the power line cones into the house)...and, come to think of it, that is where I most want a tree (under that powerline), so, I am thinking something shorter.

My other concern is creating too much shade for any of the sun-loving things that I've already put in.
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Old 03-25-2017, 02:56 PM   #8
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Finally, I got around to finding and labeling an aerial shot to give you all a better idea of what I am working with.

Any suggestions for trees would be greatly appreciated. I still haven't decided for sure that I want trees there, but, more and more, I'm starting to lean that way. I'm still trying to keep them from being too large and shading too much of the other things I have planned for the area.

Suggestions Wanted-aerialviewfrontyardlabeled.jpg

Hopefully the lawn will be replaced with a mix of low-growing natives and short bunch grasses.

The "shale barren" project is still incomplete--and it was created, not an naturally occurring outcrop; below the shale scree is just the regular soil below a smothered lawn. Currently, it has a few birdsfoot violets, straight species phlox subulata, little bluestem, asters, (what I think is) Lespedeza intermedia, common cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex), pussytoes, and some others that I can't think of at the moment. The Potentilla may have been a mistake, as I think it is out competing the birdsfoot violets.

I broke down last year and added the Gro-Low Fragrant Sumac--my first name variety "native"...I still have mixed feelings about it, but I liked the idea of it for what I had pictured for the front. Any thoughts on this?

(I know, my thoughts are all over the place--sorry. My advice is "just get used to it"...I'm not really sure I could change! )
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:45 PM   #9
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I'm not familiar with the low-grow fragrant sumac, but it sounds as if it would fit your plan for the area. I think it's small enough that you wouldn't want to put any canopy trees there unless you eventually want shade. You could try understory trees like pin cherry, ironwood, crabapple, striped maple, or witch hazel. Not all of these are necessarily suited to full sun and acid, though. Hop-hornbeam has a nice upright habit and doesn't cast much shade.
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:45 PM   #10
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I'm not familiar with the low-grow fragrant sumac, but it sounds as if it would fit your plan for the area. I think it's small enough that you wouldn't want to put any canopy trees there unless you eventually want shade. You could try understory trees like pin cherry, ironwood, crabapple, striped maple, or witch hazel. Not all of these are necessarily suited to full sun and acid, though. Hop-hornbeam has a nice upright habit and doesn't cast much shade.
I added an ironwood not too far from the front but more on the side yard. That *might* work. I love the muscle-like trunks--i always thought if it as a shorter tree...but, I have since seen it on a campus somewhere that was quite a tall specimen.

I agree, some of the understory trees may not do well in full sun.

My first thoughts were more dogwoods (but I already have well over a dozen added to the property...and quite a few near the house). Another one is your namesake, Amelanchier. Again, I have several.nearby already. I have encountered a serviceberry growing in full sun on a rocky outcrop along Skyline Drive--it was an awesome sight--a rugged tree in a rugged landscape.

I have several options. For some reason, I thought someone would throw out some suggestion that I would never have come up with on my own...maybe even one that I am not even familiar with--not sure why I am so picky! I suspect it is because I fear that putting in the wrong thing will hinder the growth of what I already added.

Thank you for your many suggestions...and your patience with my stubbornness.

I think I need to get out to more wild places and become more aware of the various components of habitats that I like.
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