Shrubs for a hedge

kimeryl(MN)May 5, 2007

I could use some recommendations for a hedge for the front of our house, bordering the public sidewalk. I had spirea, and it was nice, but I decided I wanted a change. One thing I'm looking for feedback on is if anyone has done a 2-tiered hedge, with one type of bush in the front, staggered, and then another tier filling in the blanks from the other one. I've been driving around trying to find something "in the wild" that I like, but am not having much luck. I am thinking of doing either all barberry or a row of barberry and something flowering, like shrub roses. I like barberry because it has some color in both summer and winter, grows fast, and is around the height I'm looking for. I was actually thinking of something up to 5 feet tall, so if anybody has any ideas for shrubs they think would look nice in a hedge that get to up to 5 feet tall, I would be thrilled to hear about it! Thanks for your help.


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I planted a row of red barberries in the back yard last year. Their leaves have a dark tinge to them and turn red in the fall. They have tiny yellow flowers in the spring and lots of lovely sharp thorns. When the shrubs get a bit larger, I'm thinking of putting in a clematis to vine among them. Even as short as they are now, lots of growing to do, they make a dramatic border for that side of the yard.

Along the other side of the yard I'm trying Cherry Meidiland roses. They are a zone 5 shrub rose but I'm hoping global warming will keep them happy, they were on clearance, so I didn't spend a lot for them and won't lose much if they fail. They aren't very fragrant, but have a long bloom season. I was stunned by their beauty when the leaves turned a deep purple in the fall that perfectly offset the red and white blossoms. Meidiland produces some other varieties of hedge rose that are more cold tolerant, I like them because they are so low maintenance.

I originally wanted hawthorns along both sides of the yard, very dense and thorny, but couldn't find a variety that would survive this far north that was a shrub and not a tree.

Let us know what you choose.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Thanks, parrotslave. I will definitely check out the Cherry Meidiland. I've had pretty good luck with the "borderline" roses, and was amazed that every single one has come back this year, even though I didn't mulch or give them any special care. I think it's definitely worth a shot. Thanks for the ideas.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Summer Wine or Coppertina ninebark might be nice and not prickly. Winnepeg Parks rose is a good long blooming, hardy, and a nice cherry pink. I like Pink Diamond Hydrangea a lot also.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 10:05PM
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Thanks for the ideas, Ted. For some strange reason I had never even heard of "ninebark", but saw it at Gerten's over the weekend and it's definitely on the list of possibilities.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 10:22AM
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Don't forget Green Mountain boxwood, very nice, evergreen, soft, nicely scented foliage, requires no pruning or shearing since already the perfect shape (3' x 5' tall), fine for zone 4.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 3:52PM
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Just wanted to update you on what I chose. Thanks to Ted for pointing me in the direction of Ninebark, I ended up getting the Center Glow variety. I purchased them at Mickman Brothers which I loved, very helpful people and it was just a great experience. I chose the ones from Bailey's, they looked the healthiest and I prefer to buy plants grown locally when possible. Thanks for the great suggestions, these seem to be really taking off well and I love the way they look.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:49PM
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interesting topic. I posted about screening a fence and esentially have the same issue as you - public side walk. we chose a dwarf burning bush and roses and wine weigela in between. 5 high and 5 wide for both.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 11:05AM
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cosmo1(z4 MN)

Funny / we just put in hedges in our back lawn. I have been looking at every shrub & rose for three years, trying to come up with something that would fit. We have a park in the back that becomes very sodden in the spring, & with Minnesota being so cold in winter, that was an issue also. I went back & forth over my list & this June put in Diablo Ninebark. I have been watching over & caring for them like they are babies. Even cutting them back 1/3 & will continue pinching back this year. That will make them branch out & thicken & become more graceful & less lanky. They had beautiful white flowers which turned a beautiful red. They're just gorgeous & I'm one happy camper. I did pinch off a bunch of the flowers in my quest to get a lovely bush. I then continue doing it next year up until August, then stop so it will set buds for the following year's flowers. Next year I probably won't have flowers (with this method) but it will be worth it in the long run. Same with center glow. I really didn't appreciate how lovely these bushes are.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 3:35PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

Hedge cotoneaster makes a nice hedge too, especially if you want one that you can shear and shape (nice glossy leaves, berries).

I had never really heard of ninebark either until I was looking for a replacement for my purple leaf sandcherry. I didn't mind the sandcherry, but it's subject to chlorosis in clay/alkaline soils and for the past four years my shrub would start off the season a nice reddish purple, but before long the leaves would look this sickly champagne sort of color. Plus it barely bloomed and no berries at all.

I wanted another purple or burgundy leaf shrub so I chose 'diablo' ninebark. I am most impressed. The leaves are sort of maple shaped, have a bit of sheen to them, the shrub has attractive exfoliating bark. It had white flower clusters a few weeks back and now the seed pods are developing and sort of look reddish/pink. I think the only problem might be that it's a vigorous grower so I'll definitely have to trim to keep it within bounds, but I trimmed my sandcherry annually and kept it sort of "less wide" than it would have been without trimming. Some of the smaller ninebarks (coppertina) sound interesting, but I am impressed with my diablo too.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 12:43PM
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thisismelissa(z4a-S Twin Cities MN)

My concern about Barberry next to the sidewalk is that of a legal one. Say a kid falls off his bike into your barberry. One could make a legal case of Negligence if he were to get hurt falling into the bushes.

Just my thought.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 3:51PM
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