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screening trees/shrubs for a sunny soggy garden


 
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crol
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject: screening trees/shrubs for a sunny soggy garden Reply with quote

We are just finishing up a bungalow renovation in North Dublin at the moment.

The back garden is just topsoil at the moment (pics attached).

During the build we discovered that we have quite a high clay content and poor drainage.

Puddles take a several hours to clear in a few spots and the soil there is cracked when dry.

The garden faces SE (mostly E) and we are overlooked to some extent on the left but moreso from the dormer window in the bungalow behind.

Initially we would like to plant something to help screen us from the neighbors over time. This should suit our small kids and ideally not be high maintenance.

What trees/shrubs do you guys think would be suitable?

Thanks for your help,

Slip



30409.jpg
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facing east. how can we improve screening from the houses on the left?
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30410.jpg
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facing south east. add screening from the bungalow behind.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of shadows there that are not helping the drying out process but that cannot be helped. Am also wondering if you have a hard pan and/or subsoil has been brought to the surface.
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crol
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:
A lot of shadows there that are not helping the drying out process but that cannot be helped. Am also wondering if you have a hard pan and/or subsoil has been brought to the surface.


hi tagwex,

it may well be that the areas which are puddling have been compacted by the builder during construction. how would we establish if that is the case?

i don't think we have subsoil on the surface as a lot of topsoil was added to raise the rear garden.

our structural engineer dug a trial pit to 1.8m and found the hole was very slow to empty beyond 50cm or so from the surface. he also noted a reasonably high clay soil content at that time.

all this resulted in us adding a soakpit which overflows to a surface water drain out on the street.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very little soakage in clay I'm afraid. Maybe a good rotavating would loosen up the soil where compacted. Possibly some french drains would help you to divert the water away horizontally seeing as it wont go vertically.
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crol
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks tagwex.

do you have any thoughts on what trees to plant to add some screening over time?

from reading the forums here, it sounds like italian alder/silver birch/willow/ash might be appropriate.

crol
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will find that every forumite here is an 'expert' in something if you stay around long enough! My area of 'expertise' is not in choosing the right tree for the right place. However, the rest of them will be tuning in this evening and will no doubt point you in the right direction.
I would say two things though, all your choices are slow growing so you wont get the immediate effect unless you buy fairly mature trees that are a few years old already, secondly do NOT plant a willow so close to your house especially with the subsoil that you have.
What do your neighbours think of such tall trees potentially shadowing their gardens?

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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crol
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tagwex wrote:

I would say two things though, all your choices are slow growing so you wont get the immediate effect unless you buy fairly mature trees that are a few years old already, secondly do NOT plant a willow so close to your house especially with the subsoil that you have.
What do your neighbours think of such tall trees potentially shadowing their gardens?


We would be ok with some trees that allowed dappled light rather than a complete blackout.
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't regard any of those trees to be slow growing, but then I'm not from Wexford!
Sorry, crol, I had to get that one in!
I'm no tree expert but I've grown a few, over the years.
Firstly, screening: in my experience, distraction is an easier goal to achieve than obliteration, where unwelcome views or unwanted over-looking are the case.
Secondly, go for trees that give several seasons of value: bark, fruit, flowers, spring foliage colour, autumn colour - all can be utilised.
Thirdly, don't worry too much about putting a tree in the wrong place, except where damage from roots to drains or structures may ensue. After all, you can always cut a problem tree down and these days there is plenty of demand for firewood.
Forthly, listen to people who are much more expert than me!
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I planted 4 Ash whips about 4 or 5 feet high and 12 years later they are 15 feet at most. To me that is slow but then again I am not from up north, thankfully!
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you have slow soil in Wexford.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At least we have topsoil, 400mm of it, and not the paltry 50mm that you have and then having to supplement it with bought in bags, seaweed, sand, compost etc. and that is after years of destoning (if there is such a word).
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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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tippben
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding your photos. Do you mean that the camera was facing that direction, or that the area to be screened faces that direction?

I would avoid cherries. They have very sturdy surface roots, which could definitely upset those walls, and they do not respond well to pruning. For a waterlogged site, you are right, Alders would work, but only if you pollard them, otherwise, they will quickly (and I mean 4'+ a year) grow far too big. If you want a birch, you could try Betula nigra, the "River Birch", which has attractive reddish bark.

Another option is "pleaching". It would be fairly pricey. You get a pleached standard, which means a 6' clear stem, with a flat panel of foliage (usually 3' high) above that. You would have to set metal or concrete posts, with wires trained between them high enough to screen the unsightly view. You would then plant the trees between the supports. As they grow, you train shoots along the wires, and each winter prune the growth back hard. The panel effect should be no wider that about 12-24". This also restricts the roots, as there is not enough photosynthesis to let them run too far. You would want to do this far enough away from the wall to be able to prune both sides, unless you are on good terms with your neighbour. I have seen Tilia (Lime), Morus (Mulberry), and Photinia fraserii "Red Robin for sale prepared for sale in this manner.
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Dr. Sunny Thomson
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My fear would be that adding trees to screen would only add more to shadows and light loss thus making the back garden even damper . Shocked . I would be a fan of birch though to screen with the most light let in
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