The good, the bad and the fastest growing!
The best neighbour is one you can’t see – find out which are the best trees for boundaries and fence lines, giving you privacy in any situation!
While many of us may dream of living on large lifestyle blocks, the reality is that most of us will end up living on the good old kiwi quarter-acre, with neighbours on our boundaries. With subdivisions becoming smaller and smaller, it’s also quite likely that your new home may be on a piece of land significantly smaller than a quarter acre: making the need for effective boundaries and smart tree selection more important than ever.
We’ve spoken with Ben Edgar and his team at Blue Nikau, Northland landscaping experts, to find out which trees will provide the best privacy screening for urban situations; and which to avoid!
Best trees for fence lines – are fastest growing trees best?
An important consideration when choosing fast-growing trees for fence lines and urban boundaries is their mature height: the last thing you want is a towering line of trees that blocks out all of your light and erodes your good neighbourly relations! A favourite of Ben’s is the Corokia – a tall, hardy shrub that grows to about 1.5 metres, making it perfect for blocking out any unwanted views without losing the light. Another popular hedging solution is the Griselinia, an evergreen shrub with a lush, dense foliage. For a ‘heritage garden’ hedge, you can’t go past the ever-popular Camellia, a hardy, glossy-leaved favourite, with fantastically dense foliage and elegant shaping. Although fast-growing plants such as pittosporums have been the traditional choice for hedging and boundary solutions, Ben says they are far from ideal. Growing to a mature height of up to 8 metres, these trees are indeed a fast-growing solution: but they’ll require constant management to maintain a thick, hedge-like boundary. This proves that choosing a plant simply for it’s growing speed isn’t the answer, as fast growers typically have a much greater mature height! In fact, Ben strongly recommends purchasing more mature plants of the right species rather than selecting a fast-grower. Also, be aware of your closest powerlines when considering the mature heights of planted trees and shrubs, as your local council will have specific regulations regarding safety.
Best trees for shelter belts – trees that provide shelter and protection from wind
When you need to provide shelter from the wind, choosing the right trees from the very beginning is essential. Ben recommends growing in a layered design, with a well-thought out height ratio – choosing plants such as flax, which grows to around 2 metres, in conjunction with taller, hardy shrubs and trees. Your soil type and location will also play a large part in selecting the right trees and shrubs for your wind break, so it is always best to speak with an expert before spending a lot of money on potentially ill-suited plants!
Best trees for Northland coastal areas – trees that thrive in sandy soil & salt air
Living in Northland means a constant battle between dry summer months and overly-wet winter months, not to mention the specific needs of coastal property planting. If you live on our beautiful coast, or are considering purchasing land on or near the coast, then you’ll need to consider which plants will be able to survive in this environment. Sandy soil? Clay soil? High winds? Salt winds? Depending on your specific situation, Ben suggests growing hedging Hibiscus, which is a natural lover of the coastal environment, and is a beautiful addition to any property. There are a variety of native hedging options which is Blue Nikau’s area of specialty; the native options often growing better, and providing less interruption to your million-dollar coastal view.