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Fast growing evergreen trees/hedge

 
Chris Bond
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I'm moving to a new property in the summer in the UK and there is a dual carriageway at the end of the garden - it's about an acre so not close to the house and there is good tree coverage in the summer. However all the trees lose their leaves in the winter and te road is back in sight. Any tips of which trees to grow in the south of England to that will grow quickly, be evergreen and potentially also be useful as a wildlife habitat and/or edible.

My first thought was to plant some Rosemary as it is easy to grow and useful, but I'm sure you guys will be able to offer alternative/better/more diverse options!

Thanks in advance
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1556
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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I'm not aware of that many "useful" evergreen hedging plants here in the UK. At least not ones that will grow to a size useful for screening. Rosemary does keep it's leaves, but is fairly slow growing and needs pruning if you want it to bush out nicely and not just grow thin and leggy.

One way to overcome that is to plant not a hedge but a wide shelter belt (5 to 10 meters) with a range of sizes from shrubs and herbs on the edges, to taller trees in the middle. We have a natural belt forming around our vegetable area which is a mix of hawthorn, dogwoods, wild cherry, willow, brambles and roses. There is a gap in it where we have a path and the difference between the shelter of the belt vrs the gap is phenomenal. If I were designing it from scratch I would zig zag the path to break the direct airflow/windtunnel effect.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1322
Location: northern California
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I think the OP used the word 'trees'. Rosemary certainly isn't that, at least no rosemary I know about. Evergreen edibles dense enough for screening as well is quite a challenge. There are several nut-bearing pines that might qualify, but most will lose their lower branches eventually, and it's hard to beat the squirrels and birds to the nuts. There's Araucaria araucana, but it's not dense enough for screening. There are evergreen, edible Eleagnus, but they too are more large shrubs than trees. For wildlife food, what about holly? It's dense, evergreen, should keep it's lower branches unless it's in too much shade, and it's native.
 
Permaculture isn't that hard to understand. Sometimes a little bump helps: richsoil.com/cards
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