Five Choices for a Natural Evergreen Privacy Barrier
Evergreens make wonderful, quick hedges and privacy screens. Some mature quickly into dense hedges and others develop with you, over time. When planting your evergreen barrier, consider placing your plants in a zig-zag formation to give a fuller effect and to allow the plants to get air and sun. This will also help the barrier give with the wind, preventing breakage and wind tunnels.
Choose a couple of your favorite evergreen varieties. It is wise to plant more than one variety of evergreens in a border so that disease and pests will not destroy the whole planting.
Arborvitae – Green Giant (Thuga Green Giant)
Arborvitae Green Giant can grow it in almost any soil conditions from sand to clay. It forms a pyramid shape and requires no pruning. It is pest resistant and even deer resistant. For a quick hedge or windbreak, plant these plants 5 to 6 feet apart. For a more gradual hedge, plant 10 to 12 feet apart. These fast-growers can reach a height of 60 feet and a spread of 20 feet. Full to partial sun.
Holly (Nellie Stevens)
Popular for its glossy green leaves, and bright red berries, hollies look best if kept trimmed and full. Only the females set berries, but you will need a male to cross-pollinate. There are some new varieties that do not require two sexes. Hollies prefer acidic soil and the addition of peat or garden sulfur may be necessary. Nellie Stevens Hollies are fast-growing trees, which are frequently planted in rows between 5 and 6 feet apart to create a dense hedge or privacy screen and can reach a height between 15 and 25 feet. Full sun to partial shade.
Variegated Japanese Laurel (Aucuba japonica)
Also known as the gold dust tree, ‘Variegata’ has leathery pale bright green leaves mottled with yellow variegation. This tree is a standout, especially when used to light up a shady area, which it prefers. ‘Variegata’ is a female and requires a male for pollination, to produce red berries. Good choices include ‘Mr. Goldstrike’ and ‘Maculata.’ This laurel likes moist soil but can handle periodic dry spells. It is a slow grower that can be pruned in early spring to summer. It can reach a height of six to nine feet and a spread of three to five feet. Full sun to partial shade.
Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
Nandina domestica is popular in the southern U.S., where its fall/winter berries are the most striking. However, Nandina is tougher than its delicate foliage would suggest. White spring flowers come in hydrangea-like panicles and are followed by bunches of red berries. The foliage blushes red for fall and winter. It is a medium-to-fast grower and can be pruned before new growth. Expect a height of five to seven feet and a spread of 3 to 5 feet. Partial sun.
Columnar Junipers (Skyrocket, Taylor, Wichita Blue)
Skyrocket – This fast-growing, upright evergreen’s glowing blue-green foliage persists throughout the year. Its extremely narrow, columnar growth habit reaches 15-20 feet tall (2-3 feet wide). Its size and density make it ideally used as a hedge, screen, accent, and windbreak. Thrives in sun, tolerates some shade.
Taylor – Semi-soft, blue-green foliage and narrow columnar form provides a refined, elegant look. This handsome selection maintains a dense, upright form than other similar plants. Makes a great privacy screen or a flanking plant for entrances or a dramatic vertical element to the landscape. Full sun.
Wichita Blue – a cultivar of the tree called Rocky Mountain juniper or Colorado red cedar, native to the Rocky Mountains. The species tree can grow to 50 feet (15 m.) tall and 20 feet (6 m.) wide. If you like the look of a Rocky Mountain juniper but have a small garden, Wichita Blue is a good alternative, as this cultivar grows slowly to about 15 feet (4.5 m.) tall, although it can grow somewhat taller over time. Thrives in sun, tolerates some shade.
Some information in this post authored by Marie Iannotti