- Best Shrubs for Making Privacy Hedges
- Suggestions for Shrubs to Use as Privacy Fences
- Selecting Shrubs
- Making Your Choice
- Zone 5 Privacy Hedges – Choosing Hedges For Zone 5 Gardens
- Growing Hedges in Zone 5
- Zone 5 Privacy Hedges
- Trees for Zone 5
- The Many Advantages of Planting Pine Trees
- Privacy Trees
Best Shrubs for Making Privacy Hedges
During summertime, we’re all excited to enjoy outdoor living again. If nosy/noisy neighbors are spoiling your enjoyment of your backyard or if a chainlink fence, dumpster, or other ugly view ruins the ambience of your outdoor space, consider a hedge as a privacy screen.
A hedge can be used to frame a nice view or mark a boundary and it can be an effective windbreak or winter snow fence. There are many plants to choose from to form a natural-looking barrier that can not only block an unsightly view but also filter air pollution and absorb sound, reducing street noise.
A welcoming gate flanked by hedges leaves no doubt about where to enter this property.
Fast-Growing Shrubs for Hedges
Think about what your needs are and what the plants will require for maintenance before you start.
For an effective hedge you need attractive plants that are fast growing. They should also have dense foliage.
Consider the mature height and width of the plants. It’s important that your hedge is continuous and does not leave gaping holes.
Finally, be aware that a plant might be a perfect hedge in one location but could be considered a hideous invasive in another part of the country. Check the invasive plants list for your state before you invest in something you may regret planting and have to remove at a later date.
- Japanese barberry, burning bush, autumn olive, and privet are just a few plants that were once used widely for hedges that are now considered dangerous invasives in most of the country.
An evergreen hedge provides architectural interest all year long and is best for muffling noise. This is the kind of hedge we think of most often. It can be trimmed for a formal look or left to grow into a natural-looking, informal fence. Here a couple of popular choices hardy in zones 4-9:
- Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’ (Thuja occidentalis) is a favorite. It grows 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide forming a tall column of greenery.
- Boxwood ‘Green Gem’ (Buxus) is a hybrid that needs little pruning to maintain its shape and is resistant to winter burn. It grows 3-4 feet tall and wide. Boxwoods are shallow rooted and need a well-drained location. Most are slow growing, perfom best in full sun but will tolerate some shade. Most boxwoods are evergreen but some are deciduous.
- Juniper ‘Blue Arrow’ (Juniperus scopulorum) grows tall and narrow – 15 feet high but only 2 feet wide – making a great screen for a small area.
Evergreen hedges – tall and small.
If you live in deer country avoid those evergreens that they love to eat including yews, arborvitae, and holly. No plant is totally deer-proof but boxwood, juniper, and hemlock are more deer resistant and stand a better chance of survival.
A hedge that loses its leaves in winter can still be an effective screen if it is thick enough. Like the evergreens, most can be trimmed into a formal shape or left natural. Many offer the added perk of flowers or fall color too! Here are a few hardy choices:
- Forsythia will give you bright yellow flowers first thing in the spring and when planted closely will form an impenetrable hedge. It thrives in full sun to part shade.
- Weigela has pink trumpet-shaped flowers and grows to be 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It does best in full sun to part shade.
- Lilacs, especially ‘Miss Kim’ and ‘Palibin,’ are smaller and more compact than regular lilacs and lend themselves to being clipped. If you prune do it right after flowering to avoid sacrificing next year’s blossoms.
- Rose of Sharon can be planted 2-3 feet apart in a double row to form a thick hedge that will bloom in late summer.
- Rosa rugosa will form a thorny hedge that will keep out any intruder. Unlike the hybrid tea roses that deer love to eat, this one is pretty much deer-proof.
- Quince is another thorny, thick grower that forms a dense hedge whether trimmed or left natural. In the spring it will light up your landscape with its fiery pink flowers.
For those that can’t decide – plant one of everything for a colorful hedge!
Who wouldn’t want a hedge that offers not only flowers but fruit as well! Here are a few that will add to your edible landscape and make good boundary plants too. Just be prepared to share the fruit with your neighbor.
- Highbush blueberries offer 3 season interest – flowers in spring, berries in summer, and beautiful fall foliage. Most top out around 6 feet tall, Plant 3 feet apart to form a dense hedge. Zone 3-7
- Gooseberries & currants (Ribes) were once thought of as forbidden fruit since they were banned in many areas of the country for hosting white pine blister rust. Now there are immune and resistant hybrids available for sale. The plants grow fast and when planted 2-4 feet apart will form thick and thorny hedges in a few years. Jostaberries are a cross between gooseberries and currants and bear larger fruit on a thornless plant. All these berries make delicious jam! Ribes are very cold hardy, some varieties grow in zone 2.
A Cut Above
If you want a full, formal looking hedge you will have to do some pruning at least once each summer to encourage branching. When trimming, taper toward the top. Making the base wider than the top allows lower branches to get sunlight. Get creative with your pruning! I have seen several hedges pruned to a wave shape across the top that is quite eye-catching.
But don’t get too crazy or your yard could end up looking like this!
The best shrubs for privacy grow densely, require little maintenance and block a view completely. There are two kinds of privacy shrubs – those that are evergreen and those that are deciduous and lose their leaves each fall. Decide which type will work best for your yard.
Suggestions for Shrubs to Use as Privacy Fences
Some privacy hedges grow very fast, while others take time to mature. If you’re in a hurry and you don’t mind putting in a lot of time trimming, you should consider the faster-growing shrubs which will establish themselves quicker.
On the other hand, slow to medium-growing shrubs require a lot less maintenance in the long run, even if they won’t provide full privacy for a few years as they develop.
Slow Growing Varieties
If you want something that takes some time, select one of these shrubs:
- Berckman’s Golden Arborvitae: This evergreen shrub grows to a height of five feet and is densely branched. It remains golden-colored year ’round and does not require pruning.
- Camellia Japonica: This is a flowering evergreen that grows to a height of 12 to 20 feet and spreads 10 to 15 feet wide. The spent blooms should be removed.
- Emerald Arborvitae: This evergreen beauty grows to a height of 15 feet and spreads up to four feet wide. It rarely needs any pruning.
- Japanese Yew: This column-shaped, evergreen shrub can grow to a height of 30 feet or more. It can be grown in areas with a salt spray.
- Saucer Magnolia: The Magnolia is deciduous, but it works well as a hedge when used in groupings. It will grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet if not pruned.
Medium Growing Varieties
A nice, evenly paced growth shrub might include:
- Dense Yew: This evergreen shrub grows up to six feet tall, and it spreads widely with dense branches. You can prune it as desired.
- French Lilac: This deciduous shrub grows 8 to 15 feet tall and will spread slowly as additional shoots grow. It produces fragrant blooms in a variety of colors.
- Savannah Holly: This evergreen grows 8 to 12 feet tall and six to eight feet wide. Female plants produce the familiar red berries. This shrub may be pruned if you desire.
- Sweet Olive: This evergreen grows up to 10 feet tall and eight feet wide. This plant is a broadleaf evergreen with dense branches, and its tiny white blooms produce an apricot fragrance.
- Wax Myrtle: This evergreen shrub grows up to eight feet tall and eight feet wide. It can be pruned to the shape you like.
Fast Growing Varieties
If you want something that grows faster, select one of these varieties:
- Dwarf Pink Almond: This deciduous shrub grows up to five feet tall and four feet wide, and it produces double pink blossoms. It should be pruned each year after blooming.
- Forsythia: The deciduous Forsythia can reach heights of 10 feet tall if not pruned, and it grows up to 10 feet wide. It produces an abundance of small yellow flowers each spring.
- Nikko Blue Hydrangea: This deciduous shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It produces large, blue snowball-shaped blooms. It can be pruned if you desire.
- Northern Bayberry: This Bayberry is deciduous and grows up to nine feet tall with dense branches. It spreads several feet wide, but you can prune it as you desire.
- Red Twig Dogwood: This deciduous shrub grows up to eight feet tall and spreads several feet wide. It’s noted for its red twigs in the winter and creamy white flowers in the summer.
Deciding which shrub to plant can be a little daunting. Consider the following points to help you make the right selection.
If you choose a formal fence, plan on spending time shaping the bushes each year so they’ll look neat and tidy. If leaving things alone is more your cup of tea, choose an informal fence that is either one low-maintenance variety or a combination of privacy bushes.
The location you choose is very important when deciding which plants you’ll use in your privacy fence. Roots grow down and laterally. The bigger the plant, the longer the roots will be. This is an important consideration when the plants will be located near a sidewalk, foundation, pool or driveway.
When you’re choosing shrubs, be sure to know what the mature size will be. The size that the plant is in the pot may be small in relation to what it will look like fully grown. Most plants at a nursery will have tags that detail the care and mature size for each plant. If you’re not sure, ask an employee in the gardening center for more information on a particular plant.
Your hardiness zone also plays a part in plant selection. Choose plants that will do well in your area and grow at a rate that fits in your maintenance plans. Fast growing shrubs will require more maintenance to keep them looking good. Flowering and deciduous shrubs will create debris in the summer and fall
Making Your Choice
In order to choose the best shrubs for creating a privacy fence, take a look around your neighborhood to see which shrubs already exist. This may help you select the best plants for your hardiness zone. It is also important to decide whether you want lawn debris from a flowering or deciduous shrub or an evergreen that requires little maintenance. In addition, many shrubs look even better in groupings instead of just one type of shrub. Check out local nurseries early in the spring for the best selection, and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful privacy fence in no time!
Zone 5 Privacy Hedges – Choosing Hedges For Zone 5 Gardens
A good privacy hedge creates a wall of green in your garden that prevents nosy neighbors from looking in. The trick to planting an easy-care privacy hedge is to select shrubs that thrive in your particular climate. When you live in zone 5, you’ll need to select cold hardy shrubs for hedges. If you are considering privacy hedges for zone 5, read on for information, suggestions and tips.
Growing Hedges in Zone 5
Hedges range in size and purpose. They can serve an ornamental function or a practical one. The types of shrubs you select depend on the hedge’s primary function, and you should keep it in mind as you select them.
A privacy hedge is a living equivalent of a stone wall. You plant a privacy hedge to prevent neighbors and passers-by from having a clear view into your yard. That means you will
need shrubs taller than an average person, probably at least 6 feet tall. You will also want evergreen shrubs that do not lose their foliage in winter.
If you live in zone 5, your climate gets chilly in winter. The coldest temperatures in zone 5 areas can get between -10 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 to -29 C.). For zone 5 privacy hedges, it is important to select plants that accept those temperatures. Growing hedges in zone 5 is only possible with cold hardy shrubs.
Zone 5 Privacy Hedges
What kind of shrubs should you consider when you are planting privacy hedges for zone 5? The shrubs discussed here are hardy in zone 5, over 5 feet tall and evergreen.
Boxwood is well worth a close look for a zone 5 privacy hedge. This is an evergreen shrub hardy to far lower temperatures than those found in zone 5. Boxwood works well in a hedge, accepting severe pruning and shaping. Many varieties are available, including Korean boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. koreana) that grows to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide.
Mountain mahogany is another family of cold hardy shrubs that are great for hedges. Curl leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocapus ledifolius) is an attractive native shrub. It grows to 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide and thrives in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 8.
When you are growing hedges in zone 5, you should consider a holly hybrid. Merserve hollies (Ilex x meserveae) make beautiful hedges. These shrubs have blue-green foliage with spines, thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 to 7 and grow to 10 feet tall.
Trees for Zone 5
My Garden Zone Is
The Many Advantages of Planting Pine Trees
Trees For Zone 5
Dendrologists agree that silviculture is perhaps the least labor intensive and aesthetically pleasing form of agriculture. The gentleman farmer and homeowners may not know what varieties to pick. This reason may be one of the most controversial topics in earth sciences. We all have a responsibility to learn more about trees. Plan a visit to a local arboretum to talk with very experts. But for a quick privacy fence or instant landscaping, there is nothing better than fast-growing Pine Trees.
First, though, there is a decision to be made regarding which varieties of these Pine Trees to use. Consider White Pine (Pinus strobus) for a hardy tree which may grow to 180 feet or more. White Pine is native to the eastern and southeastern United States of America. There are several old-growth stands. Smaller trees of about six- to eight-years -of-age are famous for Christmas trees. Mature northern and eastern White Pines are used for lumber. These and other uses make White Pine an excellent choice for silviculture.
American foresters refer to many pines as Yellow Pine. Among these Yellow Pine are loblolly, Jeffrey, ponderosa, shortleaf and slash. The ponderosa pine has four different sub-species with slightly different ranges in the western United States of America and Canada. The tallest known pines are both ponderosa pines. One is 238-feet-tall and 27 feet in diameter. The other is 268.29-feet-tall. The ponderosa pine is cultivated in park-like settings for ornamental purposes. The similar Jeffrey pine is a fragrant, shorter, long-needled variety growing at higher altitudes, primarily the Sierra Nevadas of California. Gardeners grow it ornamentally.
One Southern Yellow Pine which seems to thrive on adversity is the Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)since it grows in poor, acidic-clay soil and benefits from higher carbon dioxide levels. Also, this is among the first to develop after disruption of other vegetation. Most will top out at around 100-feet-tall but have occasionally reached 160-feet-tall. These Loblolly Pine trees appear spindly when old with a diameter of only a little over a foot to nearly five feet. The lumber industry uses these fast-growing Loblolly Pine trees which are prized for their high resin content.
Is it any wonder that to dress something up is to “spruce it up”? The 35 varieties of Pine Trees are among the most popular landscaping trees in use. Spruce Pine trees have a very proper looking form, naturally. Trees For Zone 5, The Colorado Blue Spruce Pine (Picea pungens)is extraordinarily beautiful in snowy landscapes. Although this nearly 200-foot-tall tree at old growth is grown ornamentally; this completes with caution about its height. Many of the Spruce Pine trees are used for lumber, paper, pitch, and medicinal purposes.
Planting tree crops may be very rewarding in both personal as well as financial terms. Christmas trees are the most labor intensive of these tree crops but do provide a reasonably good profit in as little as six years on marginal land. There are work and monetary investment in each of these tree crops, but there are some advantages that other plants don’t provide. Tree crops may aid soil erosion control, and growing trees may benefit wildlife concerns. Trees also provide some privacy and have a cooling effect.
Trees For Zone 5
Privacy trees tend to be trees that are dense, moderately tall, and fast growing. Privacy trees provide the grower with a product that will prevent neighbors from viewing the yard, block an unsightly view, and assist in noise abatement. There a several choices of trees that will perform well in providing a living fence or screen. The first choice is whether the grower desires an evergreen tree or a deciduous tree. Evergreen trees tend to be denser and more long lived than some deciduous trees that are commonly used. Considerations for the choice of tree would include, how tall do they need to be, how thick or dense they need to be, how long they need to live, how fast do they grow, how much space the tree will encompass, and how much care they will need over their lifetime.
Popular fast growing privacy trees include the evergreens, Thuja Green Giant, and the Leyland Cypress. Popular deciduous trees are hybrid willows and hybrid poplars. The afore-mentioned fast growing trees are not long lived, 20 to 25 years is a common life span, or less. Many qualities of a long lived privacy trees can be found in slower growing trees in the evergreen and deciduous families of trees. Consider growing 2 rows of privacy trees if there is space enough. Plant the fast growing tree in the back row ant the slower growing tree in the front row. When the slower growing trees reach the desired size, remove the shorter lived trees in the back row. Choose trees that begin branching close to the ground for best results. Spruce trees branch close to the ground whereas pine trees will be branched several feet above the ground when mature.
Additional Resources from the Nature Hills Horticulture Team
Blog post “Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy Trees and Shrubs”