Alternative to dead cedar?

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bazinga42
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Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by bazinga42 »

A few years ago we had four cedar trees succumb to drought. Following a house fire, we had no water for an entire season, so it is no mystery why these 13-year old trees died. I'm still trying to revive the lawn and get the remaining trees healthy again. We had a professional landscaper replace the dead ones, but all four died again within one year, despite following their watering and fertilization suggestions. I hesitate to try again with the same plant type. I'm not a fan of these water-hungry beasts anyway, but my wife won't entertain the idea of removing the surrounding trees. 2 of the 4 are right in the middle of a row. Any creative ideas for what might go there other than trying again with another cedar?

Thanks

Ps. I just read some other post online suggesting one should never replace a dead plant with another of the same species. There was no reasoning given, and I'd never heard that before. Is that a thing? They wrote it matter-of-factly, like it was just common sense.
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Queen K
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by Queen K »

Are they acting as a privacy hedge? Because a six foot fence would be much more pleasant to deal with in the end, then you could climb vines of your choice on it.
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bazinga42
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by bazinga42 »

Queen K wrote:Are they acting as a privacy hedge? Because a six foot fence would be much more pleasant to deal with in the end, then you could climb vines of your choice on it.
Yes, it divides our property from the neighbor's. I'd have to investigate what is allowed in terms of height. I also wonder if the (obviously not enforced, given the RVs parked around here) development covenant has anything about front yard fences, because nobody has them. But it is something to consider, so thank you. Other ideas welcomed!
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Queen K
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by Queen K »

My budget didn't allow for vinyl fencing but I would jump at it if I could. Chainlink with those inserts are a joke. Cedar hedges like your's need constant trimming, no? Do you plan to age in your house? I know my neighbours are sick of theirs.
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bazinga42
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by bazinga42 »

I think chain link would bring death threats lol. Cedar fencing might fly, but that has maintenance too. I'm not sure what vinyl fencing is. To be honest, I was hoping for something more natural. If man-made, then something interesting to take the place of the single dead trees. I don't think ripping out the whole row(s) is something my wife would even consider.

I wonder if a bookshelf might work, with a table and chairs.
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Queen K
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by Queen K »

Vinyl fences are everywhere in Kelowna, extremely pricey though. With the rise in cost of wood, the gap closes in price.

I like your shelf idea, but books outdoors? I don't know. How about a single panel of complete privacy fence? One. Then put up a piece of metal art?

Two posts, cement bags, one panel, NO lattice at the top, you don't want that! Trust me. I wish I never got it for the side of my yard. Fixed that with the backalley though.
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SmartieParts
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by SmartieParts »

Books outside doesn't sound like it would work... but check out Little Free Libraries. There's one in the neighbourhood here, and they have it stocked with books year round and they seem to do OK. Anyway, just a thought that popped in my head.

I like the single panel of fence idea too, but I don't think there's room. It is only maybe 2' wide.

Maybe I can find a tall narrow rock lol
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normaM
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by normaM »

Get your wife to agree to get rid of the rest
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Catsumi
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by Catsumi »

^^^^. Good idea.

Have you considered ornamental grasses? Beautiful, easy care, sturdy, available in various heights. I particularly like Ravenna Grass which looks like pampas grass in Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation.

These guys can help

https://www.thegreenery.ca/products/orn ... grass.html
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SmartieParts
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by SmartieParts »

lol, since when is bending the will of a spouse a "good idea"??

Environmentally speaking, I agree that cedars are not a good idea here. But it is more complicated than that, and it doesn't make sense to remove healthy plants at this point. We've trained them to be reasonably drought-tolerant (which is also why they aren't as lush and green as some would like). I'm really just concerned with the gaps and what to do about them, not to replace the entire rows. Besides, but under-lawn drip irrigation saves far more water than those hedges drink.



Ornamental grasses... I'm not sure how that would work with a small gap like that, but I'll keep that in mind and go look at the nursery's options. We took out a bunch of grasses that were planted by the original landscaper, as they became unwieldy 10 years later. The ones we had spread pretty aggressively. There's not a lot of room between the cedars and the turf, and I wouldn't want them creeping in. Many varieties though, so I'm sure I could work with that if one looks like it would fit.

I started to wonder if I could build a structure for outdoor seating/cover and hide that gap with an oversized post. It is a small front yard though, so something like that might look out of place. That's typically something for a back yard, I think? On the other hand, it is currently zero-percent utilized so it might be good to have something functional (heck, if it were allowed and if I didn't care about my neighbours, I'd just put a shed there! lol)
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normaM
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by normaM »

Alas it seems Cedars have a short life expectancy here, I see place after place with semi gone ones.. looks so sad
White vinyl fencing yellows, especially if we get another smoke filled Summer
There are trees that grow fast if you want the privacy.
Oh, just to add I live in an old established area, people over planted and now trees are over 40 feet high :(
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Randall T
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by Randall T »

Part of the problem with cedars is they are extremely fussy. Most folks think they need a lot of water, but too much can kill them. Damp for their roots is fine but wet is not. The few we have left are in the driest places and they are doing well. For privacy you could use 5ft or 6ft chain link and things like trumpet vines and creepers. The only maintenance is trimming when they get wild and crazy. The birds love the shelter too. I would avoid the cheap cedar fence panels that fall apart and sag after a few years, and building your own wood fencing the proper way is crazy expensive right now and won't be getting any better in the foreseeable future. FWIW.
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TylerM4
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by TylerM4 »

Went through this myself a few years ago. Tho for me the concern was deer. They eat any cedars in my neighborhood.

As I think you've found - there really isn't a great alternative for a hedging plant. There are others that will work, but most have seasonal foliage.
SmartieParts
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by SmartieParts »

I did just read the other day that some lumber prices have increased, but I didn't really think about it too much. Is it a big increase?

I wonder if I'd have any success taking the tree off the end and using it to fill the space? Really, "privacy" isn't so much an issue. It is a tiny front yard that is completely unused and is completely exposed to the street, so what privacy is there to protect? I'm not really sure why they are even there lol. But the gap looks stupid.
TylerM4
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Re: Alternative to dead cedar?

Post by TylerM4 »

SmartieParts wrote:I did just read the other day that some lumber prices have increased, but I didn't really think about it too much. Is it a big increase?

I wonder if I'd have any success taking the tree off the end and using it to fill the space? Really, "privacy" isn't so much an issue. It is a tiny front yard that is completely unused and is completely exposed to the street, so what privacy is there to protect? I'm not really sure why they are even there lol. But the gap looks stupid.

Lumber today is at least 2x the price it was 18 months ago. Might be 3x I haven't been watching closely.

I'd be careful with transplanting. You might end up with 2 dead plants. Cedars do have a fairly small root ball and now would be the time of year to do it tho.

Rather than transplanting, I'd be tempted to bite the bullet and buy a potted semi-mature tree. You can buy them from local nursery's as large as 6 or even 7' tall. It'll cost you $100 vs the $25 you'd pay for a 3' tall tree but probably worth it in your case.

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