Shade Shrub as Hedge/Topiary?

onthebrinck(6 Central New Jersey)June 12, 2013

I have a small plot of earth near my kitchen door which up til now was occupied by a dense boxwood that was shaped to be 5' wide, 2' deep and 8' tall --- the boxwood was trained to grow that shape against the brick wall of the adjoining garage. Amazingly, this area is in shade or at best, dappled sunshine thru the cherry and maple trees nearby. But since I bought the house 4 years ago the boxwood has been in steady decline despite by best efforts at feeding it and rejuvenation pruning, clumps of branches turned yellow, shriveled and died. I'd like to replace it with something that can be trimmed to fill those same dimensions --- I was considering mountain laurel. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

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Mountain laurel tends to be a more open plant, often developing an interesting branch structure, so I don't see it as lending itself well to being pruned to a formal hedge.

Yew is fast-growing and extremely adapatable, will take a goodly amount of shade, and responds very well to pruning - whether mild or heavy, with new growth sprouting from woody stems and even the trunk. The only condition they really don't take well to is "wet feet" - consistently wet soil.

Another you might consider, with more seasonal interest, is pieris. It must have shade from the afternoon sun, likes an acidic soil rich in organic matter. In early spring, clusters of small flowers in pink or white. New growth follows; on some varieties it may be red or palest green (almost white). This shrub can eventually reach 6-8 feet in height.

I'm sure there are more, just not coming to mind right now. Looking forward to seeing what others suggest.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 10:18AM
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I would suggest firethorn (pyracantha) for that situation. Espalier it against the wall.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 1:11AM
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