Holly vs. Conifer for privacy screening

cbass2000May 11, 2010

Posted this over on the shrubs forum, and thought I'd put it on this board as well. Been getting good info on this site for years but need a little extra help this time. Trying to come up with a good privacy hedge/screen for an area alongside a road in front of our home. Criteria are as follows. Full Sun, Hoping for evergreen, height range anywhere from 5-12 ft or so. Width not an issue. Something that I could just "let go" and would still look nice and not get too huge. Thinking of Blue Princess or other holly, Hicks Yew, Frasers Photinia (probably not hardy enough for 6), or some sort of conifer that I would have to keep cutting to keep it from getting too tall (thuja or leyland etc.) How about a combo for a more natural look? This would be a row of around 60 ft or so. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks everybody.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

where are you .. it might make a difference ...

now.. why not all of them.. in some exotic groupings to add diversity and make a rather plague-proof line ...

60 feet is a lot of any one thing ... dont you think???

MOST conifers have a KNOWN annual growth rates .. and being trees.. will grow at that rate for most likely the rest of your life ... unlike shrubs... they do not have a definite height stopping point .... so once you get some ideas.. you will need to research the annual growth rates ...


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 4:35PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)


For that row and all your criteria I always recommend Thuja occidentalis Techny. It's a great conifer for your
purpose (height/width). It's just the right plant for you.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 5:55PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I agree and say plant two or three different types of bushes and trees like Ken suggests and scatter the pattern if possible.

That way WHEN one dies you don't have a hole or WHEN whatever bug eats one migrates through you don't have that big a disaster.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:32PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

...I disagree! Just don't plant Leylands...they'll get out of control. No Green Giant's, either.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 9:42PM
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How big of an issue is the ornamental value or red or orange holly berries (on female plants)? How annoyed will you be with 'sticker' leaves on the ground near the plant? Do you like the feel of arborvitae?

Just how problematic will it be if the plants get a little over 12 feet tall?

Is this in a suburb where you're trying not to contrast too badly with neighborhood homes/yards, or are you outside town where anything goes?

Are deer likely to attack your plants? That might make a difference.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:57AM
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Fraser's Photinia are cold hardy 0 to - 10F Zone 6.

We planted them as a privacy screen along our fence in 1996. Some are in full sun, others dappled shade from a large maple tree. They are moderately fast growers but can be easily trimmed to maintain whatever height you like. The red new growth is attractive.

We just removed a line of 50 year old arborvitae due to age and snow damage. We replanted the bed with Cryptomeria japonica Yoshino, Ilex pedunculosa (Longstalk Holly), photinia and a few cherry laurel. I think the mixed plantings are more interesting.

The Longstalk Holly is soft, the leaves lack the spiny tip that many hollies have, usually hits around 15' and the female has red berries and good to zone 5.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 9:28AM
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Zone 6. A little over 12ft tall would not be a big deal, but not too much taller. Out in the country so matching up with neighbors not an issue. Arborvitae might be a good choice if I can find the proper varieties locally. Hoping to find one that would have a wider growth habit in order to reduce the number needed to create a good screen. Probably go with a combination of hollies/arborvitae etc. Berries would be a bonus, not a requirement. I guess my biggest challenge will be finding the proper varieties here locally. Thanks

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 1:23PM
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Deer are prone to eat arborvitae. Of course, if you've got a fenced in yard or a free range yard dog, that might not be an issue.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:01PM
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