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shorter conifer trees?

 
Andrew James
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I'm looking for shorter conifers to break wind, hold heat and shade a swale. The tree line needs to be tall enough to shade the swale, but short enough so the hugelbeds behind the swale get light.

I'm in northeastern MN (zone 3/4).

I have a Trees of MN field guide (Tekiela). Heights listed here:

White Spruce 40-60ft
Black Spruce 25-50
Colorado Spruce 40-60
Norway Spruce 50-70
Eastern Hemlock 40-60
Balsam Fir 50-75
Douglas Fir 50-70
Jack Pine 20-50
Scotch Pine 30-80
Austrian Pine 40-60
Red Pine 40-80
Ponderosa Pine 50-70
Eastern White Pine 70-100
Tamarack 40-70
Eastern Red Cedar 25-50
Eastern White Cedar 30-50

I was hoping for 10-20 ft. I think Black Spruce (25-50) and Jack Pine (20-50) have many dead branches. On top of the desires for a wind break, heat and shade I'd also like added benefits (bird/animal feed/shelter or medicine, sap, etc).

Thoughts?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Grow Scotch pine or others that could be managed for Christmas trees. Rather than a hedge, plant several deep, staggered so the wind has to weve through. Most trees are sold at under 8 ft. and the large taper means little shade from the upper couple feet. Grow the tallest specimens closest to the swale. Blue spruce 25 ft tall are worth a few hundred each as landscape trees. 5-7 inch diameter is ideal for a spader to harvest.
 
Michael Newby
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Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
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Pinus mugo is a good short conifer that does pretty well in cold climates. It goes by the name mountain pine or mugo pine and can usually be found in the box store nurseries for cheap.

Full grown tend to max out around 20' and that's after quite a while. There are also dwarf varieties available which are much smaller.
 
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