Suitable native hedge?

rhauser44(z6 MI)May 16, 2007

I live on a 1/4 acre suburban lot. My wife has given me a green light to create a more wildlife-friendly environment in my backyard, but she has some priorities. First she would like a hedge or screen along the 65 feet of chain-link fence on the east side of our property.

The site gets morning shade from to nearby Maples, and afternoon sun. Relatively dry between rains.

There is about 10-12 ft of vertical clearence below the overhead power lines.

I was thinking Gray or Silky Dogwoods. Any other suggestions?


Native Beginner

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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

I have American Cranberry (Viburnum Trilobum) growing quite well in just such a spot. I bought them bare root. The first year they seemed like nicely water sticks but really took off after the second year. I kept them watered and happy with a soaker hose and mulch. The foilage is lovely, the flowers are pretty, and the birds love the berries.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 8:05AM
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rhauser44(z6 MI)


Thanks for the response! I've been thinking about how I can use Viburnum Trilobum. If it makes a good hedge, it could be an option too.

From pictures I've seen it looks like a great shrub for my purposes

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 12:47PM
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rhauser44(z6 MI)


How far apart did you space your American Cranberrys?

The UConn plant database states their spread is qual thier height, 8-12'.

Just curious,

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:48AM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

You might consider alternating two shrubs. For example, the Cranberry Viburnum alternating with a shrub of similar stature, perhaps American Holly, Eastern Hemlock, or Red Cedar. Yes, I know these evergreens will eventually grow taller than the viburnum, but not for many years. The inclusion of evergreens makes the hedge more functional in winter, and using only two well selected species keeps it looking planned, as opposed to the use of many species in one hedge that tends to look a bit unruly.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:41AM
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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

My Am Cran are about 5 feet apart.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:41PM
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Virginia sweetspire rarely grow taller than 4 feet or so and they are quite attractive in the winter: craggy red branches. Their fall color is gorgeous and in milder climates the foliage can hold on through the winter. No berries for birds, but the spires of white flowers that appear in June are a butterfly magnet! However, birds love to use a virginia sweetspire hedge as shelter! The first summer you would have to supplement watering, but the plant is quite adaptable to dry soil... Just a thought.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 4:24PM
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waplummer(Z5 NY)

Any of the native viburnums and shrub dogwoods. Vaccinium corymbosum, Calycanthus floridus. For an occasional plant to give height considera Lindera benzoin, cornus alternifolia, Ptelea trifoliata, corylus americanum. then there are the native azaleas, especially rhododendron vaseyi.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 9:07PM
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Soeur(z6b TN)

Some cool options, although you might have to hunt around a bit:

There's an American Holly called 'Susan' which is naturally somewhat small, growing to about 15 ft with a dense conical habit. You'll need a male to get berries, of course. Hardiest male I know is 'Jersey Knight', which gets taller but is easy to keep pruned.

There's a very beautiful red cedar (which is actually a juniper, Juniperus virginiana) called 'Lebrotni'/'Lebretonii' (the name appears to have morphed depending on who you read) that's an intense silvery blue-green and only gets about 15 feet tall.

There are lots of good native viburnums. Some types that like dryer conditions and part sun such as your site are V. prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum), V. rufidulum (Rusty Blackhaw -- if you're Z6 it should do fine for you) and V. dentatum 'Autumn Jazz' or 'Chicago Lustre'.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 10:27PM
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