front yard hedge - where do I start?

Rae77April 13, 2013

I have a 1970s ranch home that is on a private, road with no sidewalk in front. Our yard basically grows up, into, the side of the road. Currently there is a very rickety wooden fence (about 3-4 feet tall) that runs the length of the yard. It is rotten and looks terrible. I would like to replace it with a hedge that will run the length of the yard (70 feet). It will not get watered after it is established. It is on the south side, so it gets sun. I am looking for something that will not be more than 5 feet so I can still see out to the road from my front window. I would possibly like something with some color, but my top priority is low maintence, fairly dense growing that will quickly be about 5 feet tall. I am totally new to landscaping, so I feel very lost. Thank you for any suggestions you may have!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Living hedge that acts like a fence by shooting up to a short height and then remaining frozen in that size is frequently desired but not available - trees and shrubs keep growing until they start to decline and die. The only kind that produces stems that grow as tall as they will ever get all in one go (within the same growing season, in fact) is bamboo but this likes it moist.

Choose something that has other features you like, maybe Ceanothus 'Victoria'/'Skylark' for its quick growth and drought resistance and plan on doing a little pruning.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 12:34PM
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Thank you for your suggestion. . I am definitly willing and expecting to have to prune a couple times a year. It will be in an area however that is hard to get much water to, so this plant seems like a good option. Please forgive my true ignorance, but is it OK to plant these throughout the spring and into the early summer? If so, do you wait until the next year to do any pruning? Thank you for the advice!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 4:55PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Plant soon or next fall, not when summer drought right around the corner. Commence pruning when desired size being reached, as you are wanting the height as soon as possible. If using ceanothus do not cut back into older, harder stems.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 11:17PM
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Not all plants get indefinitely tall :-) They have a genetic predisposition to a "typical" mature size and once they achieve that mature size, growth slows significantly although does not halt completely.

Five feet tall is a tricky size for most evergreen hedging type shrubs.....there are a good number of dwarf ones that will stay below that size and a great many more that will easily exceed that. If you really do not mind an annual pruning, you have a lot of choices. The sizes listed are "average" maturity, so a plus or minus 25% depending on growing conditions (more watering through establishment and after will increase size and rate of growth)

Abelia 'Edward Goucher' (6')
Berberis darwinii (5-6')
Choisya ternata (6-8')
Cistus ladanifer, corbariensis, x purpureus (4-6')
Ceanothus 'Vandenberg' (5')
'Otto Luyken' laurel (4-7')

You have a somewhat broader selection if you use or include deciduous shrubs - nothing wrong with a mixed shrub or tapestry hedge :-) Various Japanese barberries, Rosa rugosa, spiraea, aronia, itea, dwarf lilacs, dwarf buddleia.......

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:39PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Would boxleaf honeysuckle be a reasonable option? I've read about it doing well being sheared, and is drought tolerant. I picked one up to see how it would do in my yard last autumn, but since it hasn't had a real growing season yet, I cannot attest to anything personally.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes. that has been used for hedging in this area for decades. Coldest winters may kill it back, but you run the same risk with the ceanothus, abelia etc.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 3:22PM
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