Tall hedge for privacy that bears fruit?

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)March 16, 2009

My neighbor needs a tall privacy hedge between her and her other neighbor. She asked me what she could plant that would provide privacy and fruit at the same time. I told her about the columnar fruit trees, but those would not provide much privacy during the winter, and they are pricey. She would like something tall and narrow so it doesn't take up the rest of her yard.

Any ideas? We live in zone 5, clay soil, late spring frosts.


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Is there a vine that could be added to the fruit trees?

We have a lot of virginia creeper, but it sheds its leaves too; clematis provides some cover in the winter.

There are some unplanned hedges near here that are just plums; nanking cherry grows quite dense.

Raspberries and/or currants worth considering?

Neighbors might like or dislike fruit on their side.

Just thoughts ...

Good luck,


    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 6:45AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Aronia Viking can get tall and makes a dense shrub but is deciduous so the branches would be bare in winter. It could probably be pruned into a narrower shape but tends to spread gradually wider. The fruit ripens all at once so is easy to pick. It is very high in anti-oxidants and good cooked. Someone in your zone might know how it does there.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 7:54AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

milehighgirl, set up a T-bar trellis and plant Arctic Beauty Kiwi. Tri color leaves are very ornamental and it bears grape size Kiwi's. I just mulch my Kiwi vines and prune them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:18AM
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I disagree with both suggestions. Aronia, in the alkaline, arid western soils, is going to be inedible. Arctic kiwi does not like late frosts, and needs a lot of water. She is not going to get foliage in winter in any edible way, but serviceberry (multicane variety) will provide the fence she wants (certainly ten feet tall), and good fruit. It is native in the area.

She could also consider sea buckthorn (goumi is probably too low), but I am out of my depth with these two. Blueberries will need work (acidification and water), and too low.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 3:30PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I favor mixing things up. She can prune apple or pear trees any way she wants - even espaliered - (summer pruning). They take quite heavy soil, especially pears.

Japanese/American hybrid plums might work. Maybe Superior, Toka, some of the varieties offered by Fedco and at least one "pure" native plum for pollination. Plant them close for cross-pollination.

European plums might take a little more care, but there are some great ones. They grow more slowly. Again, summer pruning can keep them the shape she wants. Does anyone around you grow cherries? They tend to grow upright. For all stone fruits, you would want a rootstock suited to heavy soil.

If the weather is cool enough, there are some gooseberries that can get 10 feet high.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 5:29PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Does anyone know if Buffalo Berry would work? Are the berries edible? How tall does it grow?

Saskatoon sounds like it might work too.

Are either evergreen?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 7:24PM
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No, they are not evergreen. There is one evergreen with edible berries, but the seeds and fronds are deadly so I won't tell you what it is. I do not know the name of specific serviceberry varieties, but they will all grow to at least ten feet (unlike, say, goumi or blueberries). Ask your supplier for a variety that has a multi-cane habit, as opposed to a small tree habit (single trunk).

    Bookmark   March 17, 2009 at 9:57PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Buffalo berry is edible, but usually made into juice or jelly. The fruit is very pretty and eaten raw, it tastes a lot like grapefruit to me. However, it has small fruit and seeds, so you don't just eat it like you would currants or such.

Buffalo berry is a bit slower growing, in my experience, although it does create quite a thicket, which is also the downside as it has thorns. But, on the upside, it is native and it is able to generate its own nitrogen.

Still, it isn't something I would put in a yard unless you were trying to create a thorny fence.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 1:04AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Well, with this neighbor a thorny fence might be just the ticket! If it makes good jelly then it's worth something. I thought I read somewhere that Buffalo Berry is evergreen, so I must be mistaken about that.

Saskatoon's are also an option, so I'll pass that on to her as well. Can a person train Saskatoon's to be more of a narrow hedge?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 10:39AM
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Not a fruit, but filbert/hazelnuts can get pretty hedge-y.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 18, 2009 at 5:56PM
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erutuon(4b/5a Mpls)

I planted 'Obelisk' Saskatoon/serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia). It's supposed to get 15 feet high but only 4 feet wide. It's two or three feet tall, and even at such a young age has many clusters of fruit forming.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 6:22PM
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