Plant of the Month for Broomfield Colorado area landscapes-September 2022

Columnar Plant Privacy Screens

Broomfield, CO area landscapes {Plant of the Month Series}

Often in smaller yards in the newer subdivisions along the Front Range of Colorado, homeowners really want to create a sense of privacy and intimacy in their new back yards, but the fact is simple that many times there are three, or four or five or more homes that can look in on a new back yard. Canopy shade trees help with some privacy, but not many can be planted due to size constraints. Evergreen trees can help along edges, but they often take way too long to provide that privacy, and they are often too large for the space once they mature. That’s where columnar deciduous shrubs and evergreens play an important roll in our Broomfield Colorado landscapes to help with privacy.

September plant of the month - Broomfield-Colorado-landscaper-Columnar-Privacy-Trees-and-Shrubs

Landscapers are limited in the choices for narrow shrubs and evergreens that can provide that privacy. There are a large number of Columnar Junipers available, but even some of those can quickly overwhelm a space if not chosen carefully. There are 9-10 species that are appropriate ranging from 2’-3’ wide at maturity up to 5-6’ wide at maturity. Any wider on a smaller subdivision property will overtake the space and become a burden. Ranging from narrowest to widest, the choices are Taylor Red Cedar (Juniper), Woodward Juniper, Skyrocket Juniper, Blue Arrow Juniper, Spearmint Juniper, Medora Juniper, Hetz Juniper, Gray Gleem Juniper, Wichita Blue Juniper, and Blue Point Juniper. All are fairly tight and compact, though Hetz tends to be more open in growth habit. All have various ranges of color from green to gray and bluish in between. All will top out at 12-15’ except Taylor which may grow taller. There are other columnar trees which are appropriate, but the most common locally is Cupressina Norway Spruce which stays 4’ wide and will grow to 30’. Another option is the Fastigiate Scots Pine, but they have become scarce in the last few years. If you find some grab them! The Junipers will put on 18” to 24” of growth per year after a couple years getting established until they reach mature height. All require mostly full sun exposure and are rather water conservative.

The deciduous columnar shrub choices are more limited. There are only 5 or 6 available which are appropriate for taller screening. Tall Hedge Buckthorn, Fine Line Buckthorn, Standing Ovation Serviceberry (slow grower), Totem Buffaloberry (drought tolerant), and Purple Pillar Rose of Sharon. All of these shrubs will grow to 12-15’ except the Fine Line Buckthorn which will top out at 10’ maximum. The Fine Line is popular due to its lacy leaf and bright yellow fall color. They all require full sun. There is a columnar Boxwood called Green Tower, but it can be difficult to establish in our dry climate. It needs shade and protection from winter sun and winds.

There are several columnar trees which will stay quite narrow as well. Crimson Sentry Norway Maple, Crimson Pointe Plum, and the Crimson Spire and Street Spire Oaks are options, but even those will max out at 12-15’ wide, so they might be too large for some spaces. The Plum is the most narrow. Again, full sun for these.

If you are looking for privacy on your property and are limited with space, consider researching some of these suggestions further using the links below.

Articles in this blog that cover some of these shrubs individually


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