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Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Hiding Utility Boxes

Q: I purchased a home in a neighborhood that has all of the telephone, cable and electrical wires underground. Needless to say, I would like to hide the boxes.

I have decided to use the Dwarf Alberta Spruce as a cover. While I realize this is primarily a container tree I would rather plant it in the ground and make some sort of nature scene.

The soil is red clay and the areas are in full sun. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Donna

A: Dwarf Alberta spruces would suffice for your intended purpose, but they do get wide at the bottom as they grow. If where you intend to plant them allows for some "bottom" space as they grow, then go ahead with the Alberta spruces.

As alternatives, you might consider some narrow arborvita cultivars or one of the upright junipers (like 'Skyrocket').

These may be easier for you to keep narrow, and not encroach either on the boxes or the yard. Check with your local garden center as to what varieties they can suggest for your area.

You mention you have clay soil. When digging the holes, be sure to dig them at least 1 1/2 times the diameter of the rootballs of the plants.

Chop the soil up before placing it back around the rootball so that the roots have some looser soil to grow into.

You can incorporate some organic matter, such as peat moss, into the backfill if you like.



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Tom Mugridge




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