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Poly-culture Suburban Privacy Evergreen Fedge/Hedge  RSS feed

 
Posts: 85
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Hopefully this (currently un-tested) research will help others in my situation; as always, appreciate any feedback.

Hedge Goals: Must grow densely and remain evergreen in mixed sun conditions (partial shade to 4-6 hrs sun), heavy acidic clay, prunable to maintain at 10-15 ft high, zone 7a, relatively inexpensive (as there’s several hundred feet to fill in).  Primary goals are privacy, wind break, and wildlife cover in a suburban area with lots of neighbors and strong cold winds coming from nearby open areas.  Food production and flowers for pollinators are nice-to-have stacking functions (I realize that going evergreen instead of deciduous will reduce my food production).  Hedges will receive rough pruning; mixing shrubs should increase diversity while maintaining a semi-regular appearance.

I’m also using a few small groves of running bamboo to increase privacy, maintained by mowing.  Bamboo is great, but needs a good bit of width to establish a dense, healthy privacy hedge… space that I don’t always have on one acre.  As a rhizome-spreading plant it wants to form roughly circular groves, not long skinny rectangular hedges.

Options:

1. Holly: does relatively well in sun-limited areas, produces bird food, deer resistant.  Understory tree, will be leggy in partial shade but more dense in sun.  Only female plants produce fruit.  Plant every six feet for hedge.  Good in acidic soil; my local VA forest has a few scattered hollies growing in understory.
https://www.fast-growing-trees.com/products/NellieStevensHolly

2. Arbovidae “green giant” thuja: Prefers full sun, may grow in partial shade, prunable to 15 ft but can grow much taller.  Dense hedge, small cones/seed production.

3. Arbutus unedo, strawberry bush or tree: good to zone 7, small fruits, up to 12 feet tall, evergreen, requires partial to full sun.

4. Evergreen Huckleberry - Vaccinium ovatum: grows to 12 feet high in shade (does not grow as well in sun), evergreen, food producing.
https://onegreenworld.com/product/evergreen-huckleberry-2/

5. Pacific wax myrtle (Myrica californica): needs full sun, good to zone 7, evergreen, wildlife berry food, up to 20-30 ft high, fast growing.

6. Canadian Hemlock, grows well in shade, up to 70 ft high, can be pruned into a 10-15 ft hedge.  No food production.
http://www.musserforests.com/prod.asp?p=CAH

7. Serbian Spruce: grows in partial shade, up to 50 ft high, probably prunable.  No food production.
Http://www.musserforests.com/prod.asp?p=SES

8. Magnolia: These will grow quite tall, but are prunable to a hedge.  Should do ok with some sun limitations.
https://www.monticelloshop.org/804700.html?mrkgcl=216&mrkgadid=2972262356&creative=9472837883&device=c&matchtype=e&msclkid=8e19784233041bb525bf243c47a6c334
 
master pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Your neighbors might hate you later for the running bamboo.  It is taking over large areas around town here in my county.
 
Josh Garbo
Posts: 85
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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The bamboo is not a problem, at least not yet... my neighbor and I are actually both planting small groves between our property.  We don't really have enough sun for it to take off, though I'm researching shade-tolerant species that will perhaps do a bit better than others, like Japanese Arrow.  My other groves get more sun but back up towards public land and established forests that will stop it.  Plan is to harvest shoots and transplant to limit spreading.

If I had the room and sun I'd plant dozens of timber varieties... but that is a story for another day.
 
gardener
Posts: 5595
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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If it needs full sun, or prefers full sun, leave those species out of your planting plan, they will not perform well and will end up attracting pest insects because they won't be really healthy.

Are there children or pets in the neighborhood? if so remember that Hemlocks are poison, species doesn't matter.

I love Arbutus unedo, Holly and Vaccinium ovatum for a mixed plant hedge, they look great together with the different textures and colors not to mention the edibles for both you and the birds and other animals.
Be sure the base of any hedge is wider than the top, this ensures that there will be good foliage cover from ground level to the top of your hedge. (think triangle shaped)

Redhawk
 
master steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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If you have deer, the arborvitae will be naked for the first 5 feet.  Around here a columnar juniper is used.  But they aren't cheap.

I'm not sure if northern bayberry would get tall enough but it could be worth considering.
 
Josh Garbo
Posts: 85
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Bayberry looks to be semi-evergreen and up to 10 feet tall.  I heard holly is deer-resistant due to the pricklies...
 
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Hi Josh,

I am in the process of doing the same thing (also in zone 7a).  Some things that I've planted already include Ilex vomitoria (a native evergreen, good for tea), Photinia fraseri (non-native, but cheap and quick), Ilex glabra (native shrub), Pinus taeda (I got free seedlings), Chaemacyparis thyoides, Magnolia grandiflora, and Cedrus libani.  I've also mixed in some Miscanthus and wild plum (deciduous).  It's a bit if any odd mix of native and non-native, but I'm more concerned about function and cost vs aesthetics.

The strawberry trees that I planted didn't survive a relatively mild winter.  I'm looking into getting some nut pine species to add in this year, and I've also been considering Canadian hemlock (which is not poisonous) due to its day growth rate.

This screen is on a north facing line of my property,  but is open to full sun in the south side.  I've planted a number of small edible trees and shrubs in the area south of the screen plants.  

I avoided eastern red cedar due to not wanting you encourage cedar apple rust in my susceptible fruit trees.  I also avoided arborvitae and Leyland cypress because of their susceptibility to regional diseases and pests. Also bamboo would go crazy in my deep silt loam soil!

Virtually everything I planted were small bare root plants or cuttings I propagated. . So,  it will take a few years to fill in and serve as a screen.  They look good going into year two (some,  year 3) though.  

Happy planning and planting!
 
Posts: 2
Location: Tennessee, Zone 7a
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Definately confirm the bamboo isnt a spreading type.  

For the hedge, are you patient or looking for a quicker screen. Cheap can be liners or cheap could be 1 gal or 3 gal, etc.

Holly - Slower grower, attractive berries.

Thuja - We planted about 40 of them on our property entrance. Planted in Georgia clay, Irrigated from time to time, lost 2 or 3.   5 years later, around 8 ft tall. Beautiful but will take some time to get there.  You mentioned heavy shearing, which looks brutal on some hedges, too formal. These look better simply spaced out. No shearing if you are patient to let them fill out. Not necessarily cheap.

Magnolia - The evergreen ones, grandifloras, are slower growing and well, would look brutal trimmed to a hedge. With the shape they fill out to, seems too unnatural. Not cheap.

Wax Myrtle - After 16 years in the coastal lowcountry, I despise them BUT, they are tough as nails, shear easy and fast growing.  Should be cheap.  Top choice of the ones listed.

Dare I add, Leyland Cypress - Evergreen, grows in clay, grows fast and can be butchered.  Only caveat could be bagworms or spider mites.
 
Josh Garbo
Posts: 85
Location: Zone 7a, 42", Fairfax VA Piedmont (clay, acidic, shady)
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Thanks Jimmy, I may go with holly and wax myrtle then.  I don't need to heavily shear the hedge for a formal look; just need to top them eventually at 15 ft so height is limited and they fill in well.
 
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