tall plants/trees for fence planting - total shade

elizpizJune 11, 2009

Hi all - we just replaced our fence in the backyard and it looks great. Because we're in a high density neighbourhood we'd like to add to the privacy by planting something fast growing that will extend beyond the height of the fence (which is 7'). Here's the challenge. The fence is pressure treated wood and the area where we would plant gets absolutely no sun. Is this an impossible task? We already have very mature lilac trees in this area that have done really well.

Any and all suggestions welcome!



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Eliz, do you want evergreens or deciduous trees? I went to the gardening centre yesterday asking for something similar to replace dying cedar hedges. There is a type of evergreen called Texas which grows to a fair height but does not grow quickly. Another option is a deciduous shrub called Viburnum Autumn Jazz. It grows quickly and tall (see the link below) and also has lovely autumn colours. It can take part to full shade, from what I was told.

Here is a link that might be useful: Viburnum autumn jazz

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 3:02PM
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I'm trying to determine what kind of shade. Deep, light or medium shade?

can you describe if the area above the fenceline receives sun? (if so, regular tall trees with it's crown exposed to the sun will be okay)

When you look into the shade and put your hand in it, do you see your hand? (if so, trees that can tolerate light shade can do... for example Hawthorn trees, emerald cedars, cornus Kousa (dogwood))

If you look into this shade and it's so dark like you are in a movie theatre - it's probably way too dark to get anything suitable except for you to build a trellis with a cross beam to cut the view of your neighbors.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:08PM
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You can plant borage in the shade, it will get 3-4' tall and spread fairly quick. The flowers are insignificant but the leaves are a nice blueish.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Hi all - thks for the responses and sorry about the delay in replying. I'm on a biz trip so checking in less frequently.

lilyfreak, thanks for the suggestion on the viburnum. I think the area may be too shady even for that.

ianna, below are a few pix of the area. These were taken before our fence was replaced (and you can see why it needed replacing!!) and also before the lilacs there were in full bloom. In the first pic, the area of fence we want to plant against is straight ahead; the second (with the caption) shows the run of fence that we want to plant against.

So even though it looks like it gets some sun, that's early morning sun. I guess I would classify the shade as "light to medium".

squirelette, thks for the suggestion on the borage. I'll look into that.

I was also thinking about euonymus - thoughts?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 2:44AM
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So the area looks suitable for shade plants in general. You could try lining it with cedars, hawhthorn, privet, however these are hedging materials not meant to look exciting. If you wish to vamp up the area, make things look interesting with a combination of plant materials. Pagoda Dogwood, yews, boxwood, euonymous(variegated), variegated dogwood, rhododendrons, oakleaf hydrangeas,etc..

You could add underplantings of perennials such as hostas, foxgloves, astilbes, trollius, corral bells, etc.. Once again all shade loving plants.

If trees are too much of an expense, a cheaper way is to set up tall 6x6 posts with criss cross trellis on top. This way you can grow some shade suitable vines like climbing hydrangea, honey suckle vines, dutchmans' pipe.. These are wood stemmed vines which can eventually be trained to look like trees.

Just ideas

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 1:33PM
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sharont(z5 can)

Climbing Hydrangea Vine would look so good on your new board fence. Attach a wire trellis system on the board for the vine to climb on. Google Hydrangea petiolaris. It would take several years for it to get established but it then grows up wonderfully and has great flowers too!
You might also try the Emerald Cedar so popular theese days. I see a bit of sunshine showing in one of your photos. Wal.Mart was selling off their 6 to 8ft Cedar trees for ten dollars last week! If you get three to five hours of sunlight it should survive.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 12:43AM
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