Good Neighbor Hedge

scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)September 18, 2006

I would like to plant a small (~6' long) hedge-type plant on the "good neighbor" side of my yard (next to the bricks in the picture). The boy next door plays soccer, so anything delicate would not work. This bed will have mostly perennials in it, and gets bright shade for half the day, sun for the other half. The soil seems to be medium-weight, and everything I've planted so far has been happy. The purpose of the hedge-type plants would be to keep the soccer balls from decapitating other plants in the bed, plus to give just a little delineation to the lots. Something that matures at 3-4' tall would be nice, as would flowers. I was thinking of Rugosas, but don't want the little guy to get unnecessarily scraped up. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Fencing. Shrubs do not stop balls, especially newly planted small ones. And how about asking him not to let his soccer balls come on your side?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 2:00PM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

Neither the neighbors nor I can afford a fence at this time. The soccer ball excursions are infrequent. The boy is disabled and his motor skills will most likely never be "normal". He does not kick the ball over my way intentionally. All of these reasons are why I inquired about a hedge and not a fence. Do you have any suggestions for a hedge as described above? Or do you have a winning lottery ticket you are willing to send me? :-)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 3:34PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Perhaps you could get some free lumber on Craig's list and make a low wall with it since it is only 6 feet long. Your photo didn't come through, can you try again?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 3:57PM
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zzepherdogg(7)

A friend had a similar situation. She decided to go with a "Pre-built" section of fence form one of the local big box handyman/garden supply type stores. She found a decent looking one, a little longer than you are needing, but under 100.$ It looks pretty good in the store, and couldnt be too hard to install. Even if you saved 20$ a month to buy it, you would have it up and running well befor Spring. I am sure some one can make it cheeper from scratch, but it had some visual appeal, and was 6 ft tall, so it will do the job, which is to make a barrier between her home and the nice but "Busy" little kids next door. She has plans for a plantimg in front of it, that will be able to include nicer plants than she would risk putting there with out the fence.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 9:05AM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

Thanks for the ideas, everyone! Hopefully the link to the picture will come up this time. More reasons I would like to plant and not install a fence are: I am not very good at building fences, and I don't have all that much time. Some days I might only have 15 minutes to dig, weed, etc. I also don't have a vehicle large enough to transport fencing. Everything in the yard is done by me, and it's difficult to build a fence by myself. It would be nice to plant this fall, before my surgery (which will prevent me from gardening for many months). I would really appreciate ideas for HEDGE type plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: That Bare Spot

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 10:16AM
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gardengal48

I'd consider something like an escallonia. These are pretty tough shrubs, densely growing even when rather young and should hold up to occasional infiltrations of soccer balls. One of the more compact forms, like 'Red Dream', 'Red Elf' or 'Pride of Donard' should fill in the area nicely and not get overly tall. And these plants do not mind pruning (can even be sheared into a hedge) should you wish to keep them a bit shorter. No thorns to scratch young bodies retrieving balls and they will even put on a nice summer display of flowers. For immediate impact and to serve the purpose intended, I'd pick out well established ones already - 3 or 5 gallon sized shrubs.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 10:30AM
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westgate(8b Brit.Col.)

I also think that escallonia would be your best bet. Evergreen, pretty and easily controlled. A fence has a kind of "keep away from me" look, while a hedge, that grows unobtrusively, made of escallonia would be attractive and inoffensive.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 1:24PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Escallonia are brittle and will break right off where hit by a ball.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 2:15PM
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grant_in_seattle

Hiya Scarlett and all,

Looks like you've gotten a lot of good suggestions.

I did notice a nice low, friendly "hedge" on my walk to the bus stop this morning: it's a nice dense hedge of hebe. I would never think of hebe as a hedge plant because so many are so low-growing, but this one was one of the taller types with nice gray-green foliage. They were planted about 10 inches apart and had grown together to make a nice definitive, but friendly hedge. They looked pretty sturdy too. You'd have to select the type that grows to a height you want as some are quite low growing (and some might be too tall), but it looked great.

I don't know if they're cheaper than a fence, but they might be something to consider.

Let us know what you select, and how it works out.
Take care,
Grant

Here is a link that might be useful: Boxleaf hebe (not the one I saw but a candidate for you)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:10PM
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zzepherdogg(7)

Not that you are going to use this now, but I have had big deliveries from home depot. (Pavers,lumber etc) Its not cheep, but its cheeper than getting some one who is busy to help you make many trips. The stuff comes all wrapped up on pallets and you can un load it as you have time They send a little fork lift to move it off and set it where you want it. The delivery persons are pretty willing to please. You can rent a big box UHaul on the occasional 19$ all day special for about one third of what the delivey will cost you. Then you dont get the lift, or the palatized off loaded stuff, its just you and your back. I try to budget a load every year or so, just to maximize the stuff all into one load, if I can anticipate the supplies I will need for the next 12 months or so of projects. The convienience is so much more than the one time cost of the delivery. When you get back on your feet, if you ever need something big, you might give this some thought.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 11:42PM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

Both the escallonia and hebe are great suggestions! I will go armed with this information the next time I go to Flower World. I am not worried about the escallonia being brittle, although that is good information to know. The soccer ball excursions are infrequent, plus if anything broke off, it would be on their side. Thanks again, everyone!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:22AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Neither are in the front rank of hardiness. If a killer winter comes you may have to start over, especially if you are in a low area. Escallonia and boxleaf hebe will freeze occasionally even within sight of the Sound.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:50PM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

Hmmmm, I've noticed that someone has criticisms, but no suggestions. I'm sure that person has knowledge of the type of shrub I am in search of. Please do share.

Grant, you are right, I am looking for a friendly hedge. I probably should have worded my title differently. Although I am looking for a good hedge, I actually meant I am looking for a hedge on the "good" neighbor side as opposed to the "bad" neighbor side. I've planted a warty barberry over there!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 5:00PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I like to add edibility to an landscape. How about some evergreen blueberries and a welded wire fence held up by wooden posts or a lattice fence like in your photo to keep the balls out. This is Sunshine blue.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 6:24PM
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gardengal48

Although you could perhaps experience problems in a severe winter, typical winter hardiness of the escallonia is not much of an issue, certainly not enough of one to discourage you from using this shrub for your purpose. And I think it will hold up better than the hebe, of which a number of taller growing ones are also quite a bit more winter tender than the escallonia.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 10:09AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I have seen all types of escallonia commonly grown here frozen to the ground or defoliated. And that's in near Seattle etc., not out near Snohomish.

>I've noticed someone has criticisms...It remains the case that you need some kind of structural remedy to achieve the desired result, as more than one responder has discussed. After the planting is so protected you can plant whatever you want, without fear. I have had a many years old dwarf rhododendron spoiled by one errent ball hitting it once.

You're welcome.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 5:11PM
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trolley_molly

Sounds like some unobtrusive netting would do the trick very inexpensively, and be effective while the shrubs mature. I've become a huge fan of black polypro deer fencing to protect some of my beds from marauding chickens, dogs, and toddlers. It virtually disappears into the landscaping and can be supported on T-stakes or even lengths of bamboo driven into the ground. Buying the 6 foot high fencing and cutting it in half makes it even more economical. Soccer balls would bounce right off it.
Bird netting is even cheaper but not as durable. It'd protect the perennials though.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 1:13PM
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grant_in_seattle

Hiya Scarlett and all,

I stopped and stared at the hebe hedge and then took a look at some of my books and then plants at the West Seattle nursery and it looks like the hebe hedge I saw is Hebe albicans. Like I said above, the buxifolia is not the one I saw but I was just showing a pic of a hebe in general as an idea. It looks like the neighbors is the albicans type (maybe cultivar 'Red Edge') which I think is rated about the same cold hardiness as the buxifolia type so it could prove vulnerable.

Like folks have mentioned, a return to a really cold winter might hurt it, but these others have obviously been in place for several winters so might be a reasonable choice, depending on your aesthetics and propensity to mildly gamble horticulturally.

The other suggestions are fun too, and it's always good to hear what comes to other people's minds first for fun (even some thick clumps if Miscanthus grass might work, though they're not very "hedge-y").

Let us know what you decide and how it works out.
Take care,
Grant

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 2:36PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

And Hebe buxifolia hort. is actually H. odora. I like 'Red Edge', it's distinctive but like other grayish ones it often deteriates rather quickly with age and must be cut down to rejuvenate or replaced. Dwarf hebes such as this are alpines and may blight off if the exposure and soil are not open and aerated enough. I was looking at the Timber Press HEBES book recently and noticed under the cultural section that the author said the number one problem is a type of mildew that darkens and shrivels the stems and foliage. I think I have seen this rather often here, or a lookalike condition.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 3:02PM
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jennie(8 WA)

I like my Hebe salcifolia, it blooms Spring and Fall; and seems to grow fairly quickly. I don't know it's final size for certain (I was told four feet, but it made a foot up and two feet sideways since it was planted last Summer for me, so I have my doubts).

Blueberries are gorgeous, but too slow growing I think.

What about a Ribes sanguineum? Mine seem to be quite adaptable and grow at a reasonable speed. Rorsythia is inexpensive too, though it suckers a bit.

Another option, though it might not work too well in winter could be a row of raspberries; there are some little thorns, but if you offer to let them pick some berries too that would be a friendly sort of hedge. They do sucker madly though, and would need to be controlled.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 8:57PM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

I'm finally back in town, amid piles of laundry, work chaos, and thousands of photos to upload. However, this did not deter me from stopping at Flower World yesterday. For hedging, I found myself looking at variegated boxwood (buxus sempervirens) and Japanese holly (ilex crenata). I really like the idea of having something evergreen - then the neighbors would not have to see what my winter perennial bed looks like. :-)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 3:45PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

You might consider using Heavenly Bamboo/Nandina domestica var compacta, which is not brittle, will take quite abit of abuse, and will fill in from the base if stems are broken off. Grassy leaved shrubs such as Dianella tasmanica will also take abuse without being damaged, and Breath of Heaven/Coleonema pulchrum would also serve well, if it is hardy enough in your area. Berberis darwinii is another shrub that might be useful to consider, as the stems are fairly flexible.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 4:18PM
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larry_gene

Berberis Darwinii gets very large and is very prickly. I spend more time pruning that shrub than any other on my lot.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 11:36PM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

There are a couple of types of berberis in my yard, and they are prickly all right! Pretty, though. :-) I will certainly consider Nandina. I have some by my front porch and like the form, texture, etc.. There is one at my parent's house (~50 years old?) that is alive and well - and that's saying a lot as my parents do horrifying things to plants. Hmmmm, I will see which strikes my fancy when I hit Flower World at lunchtime today. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:38AM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

Yes, you can do it with a hedge.

Arborvitae would work. Get some 6 to 7 footers, at about $30 apiece (wholesale? retail?).

For character, you can place moonglow or Wichita Juniper at the ends of arborvitae, or intermittently, like big blue natural columns.

Those junipers are blue.

If sheared, they will look like the one in image #46 in the album indicated below.

Plant them in a trench, not just holes. With a trench, you can plant them rootball to rootball and have an instant hedge.

The moonglow in the image, is a second shearing, 10 months after it was planted, when it got it's first shearing.

A green hedge is quite interesting with those included.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tree Care Album, Scroll to #46

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 2:00AM
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scarlettmx5(z8 WA Smky Pt)

I ended up going with Nandina Domestica. I forgot how much I like this plant, with it's mostly evergreen leaves, different colored leaves, flowers, and berries. Thank everyone for the great ideas! I will definitely refer to this when I do the other side of the yard (in ~two years, I think).

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 2:37PM
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northwestbirdluver(Zn8)

What about arborvitaes?
Nandinas are nice plants, and can take part shade, but I'm not sure if their branches are sturdy enough to hold up to frequent beatings. Well, you can try it. I'm pretty sure Hebes and Escallonias prefer full sun. If Escallonias are mulched in the winter, wouldn't they be okay?
Bboy was only explaining why the suggested plants may not work. Why is that so terrible?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 5:49PM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

The Nandina is definitely a good choice.

Nandina domestica probably matures at more like 6' to 8' if the soil is good. But you can prune it to stay where you need it.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 1:25AM
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hostaguy(USDA 8)

If you can find I recommend,

OSMANTHUS BURKWOODII (very fragrant in spring)

Compact evergreen shrub which makes an excellent hedge if not exposed to strong north or east winds. Leaves dark and shiny above and silver underneath. In early to mid-spring it will produce masses of clusters of tubular white flowers which fill the air with their delicious fragrance. Any fertile well drained soil. Sun or partial shade.
HEDGE Trim after flowering. For hedges 4-6ft (120-180cm). Plant 2ft (60cm) apart.
SHRUB 6-10ft x 6-10ft (1.8-3m x 1.8-3m).

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:38AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I had specifically suggested the compact form of Nandina, as the type species definitely does get 6 to 8 feet tall. In my experience, Nandina will hold up to alot of abuse, and stems will bend rather than break. I had assumed that a plant in the 3 to 4 foot height range was desired, but if it only needs to be 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall, the cultivar Nandina domestica 'Harbour Dwarf' is one of the best to use, although there are certainly other dwarf cultivars available.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 12:40PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

I have some evergreen shrubs that might work for you. I'm not actually sure what the first one is (or actually what any of them are), but they should be easily identifiable by people who know. The first is sort of arborvitae-like but without the gruesome little soldier effect (apologies to those who like them):

Here's a close up to help with identification:

I thought these were junipers, but someone said they aren't. Whatever they are, they're the "gold-thread" variety:

The get quite tall if you want them to. The neighbors have a similar variety that they cut back quite a bit:

I have some just plain junipers that form a wall, but stay pretty low - may not be tall enough for your needs - maybe 3 or 4 feet- unless they're up against something like this fence:

My last suggestion a virburnum davidii. They grow like crazy, they're very dense and tough, and they stay neat. The flowers are uninteresting, but they're a solid background plant. They neighbor has some that grew up to her roof and formed a bower, but mine is a big circle, about 12 feet in diameter and about 5' tall - maybe a little taller now.

All of those will stand up to any number of soccer errors and give you some privacy. If you dare, you could put up a weeing willow, but read up on invasive roots before you risk that.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 7:54PM
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mkirkwag(Puget Sound)

Let's call that a *weeping* willow, not a *weeing* willow. Quite a different thing

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 7:55PM
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mdvaden_of_oregon(NW Oregon)

At first, I thought the first one was a Thuja, the plump arborvitae.

But it looks like a contained western red cedar.

Next is Phitzer Juniper.

And the bottom seems to be tam juniper.

What has the bright red foliage in the last image? It seems a bit too consistent of color to be sweet gum.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 1:26AM
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