Best evergreen (in zone 6b) vine to cover fence?

HollyAnnMApril 16, 2014

Hi, I'm new here. We bought a house late last summer, and discovered over the fall/winter that we would really like some privacy on our one neighbor's side of our yard. They are a nosy (they always seem to know when we are outside) retired couple that aren't particularly friendly. We have a 5' tall split-rail fence between our properties, with a wire field-type fencing stapled to the wood. A privacy fence is really out of our budget right now, and I don't want to further antagonize the neighbors with a huge fence that blocks the sunlight on their veggie garden (kind of hoping they will share some tomatoes...)

I think a vine of some sort to cover the fence would look nice. I would really like an evergreen vine, but I can't find any that claim to keep their leaves over the winter in my zone. I DON'T want wisteria, trumpet vine, or anything else that is terribly aggressive. I don't want little baby plants popping up all over, ripping my fence down, or overgrowing the neighbors' garden.

I really like crossvine and native coral honeysuckle, and appreciate the fact that they attract hummingbirds. I have some lupine seeds and a wildflower seed mix to go in front of the fence near the ground (so my dog can't see the neighbors and bark at them...probably why they don't like us now that I think of it...) but would like something to kind of fill in everything especially over the winter. I have 150 linear feet of fence to fill in, so shrubs to cover that expanse might be expensive, hence why I am thinking vines. Any other suggestions would be considered too.

Please, any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!

-Holly in Harrisburg, PA

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I moved to Florida from zone 6 - I'm not aware of any 'evergreen' vines for zone 6. The zero and sometimes below zero temps will put all vines in dormancy, which means they die back to the ground in winter.

You might consider a close planting of several evergreen trees or tall grasses. Cedar trees grow fast, are dense and should fix your issue in a couple of years.

I don't know of any instant fix, except to extend the height of your existing fence - maybe use pallet boards, which are free and easy to take apart with a reciprocating saw and a nail-cutting blade. Home Depot sells a blade for a recip. saw, made specifically for taking apart pallets.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 8:14AM
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Good fences make good neighbors.
Buy a tall fence, you are the one with a barking dog, not them.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 11:22PM
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I also have a nosy neighbor, and I have lattice up on part of the fence, and that may actually be a solution for you. 4/x/8' sheets are only a few dollars each, and will go within a foot of your fence height. The holes are small enough that you can't easily see through it, and you could cut some to raise the height a bit if you think you need to. Mine is the white plastic, attached to a 3' chain link fence with white zip ties, excess snipped off.

The best part is you can grow an annual vine on it (morning glory, etc), and change it out now and then for something different. Just be careful you don't pick one that has seed that will overwinter, unless it's one you want to come back!
Lynn T

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:15PM
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I'm doing the same "hide a fence" thing presently. If you want really cheap, fast and evergreen, you can use any of the cold hardy English Ivies in zone 6. I recommend 'Thorndale.' It's the hardiest with larger leaves for coverage. It's not invasive here in Utah and shouldn't be in PA either (but double check). I'm only using it because I have a very narrow planting area (12-inches). Most everywhere else I'm using 'American Pillar' Arborvitae (narrow, fast, dense, hardy and evergreen). It's cheaper than a privacy fence if you purchase starters and it's very fast growing for an arborvitae (up to 3' per year). However, it maybe overkill for what you want because it grows tall quickly (20' - 30'). You can find a cheaper Arborvitae for use as a shorter hedge.

If you have a lot of snow on the ground during the winter, then you may just find a privet hedge will suite you fine. It's not evergreen from Christmas through March, but it's branches are pretty dense and no one's usually outdoors during that time anyway to really worry about it. However, unlike the 'American Pillar' Arborvitae, it'll need lots of pruning on both sides of the fence to keep in check. (My neighbor around the corner has it bordering the front of his property and it's a true beauty to behold. It would be my first choice except I need full privacy in the winter months due to my next door neighbor's windows being only a few feet from my windows and currently I have to keep my blinds closed all the time because they never do). Privet is super fast and cheap, but make sure to get the cultivar 'Cheyenne' as it is the most cold hardy variety. Those are your main options for cheap and fast, but their are a lot more options available for your area if you can move up in price and/or don't mind the speed. (ie. Hollies, Yews, Boxwoods, Firethorns, etc.).

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 6:49PM
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Hi! Ibchuckd, how old are your american pillar arborvitae? And how tall are they now? I planted 44 of these on sides of my property as hedges in june 2014. I started with foot tall ones, some were half foot. After 2 and a half months in september 2014, they grew a foot taller. Now this december theyve become bronze in color. Please let me know your experience with this new plant specially the first & second years after yoy planted. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2015 at 7:06PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

This is a fairly old post, but I would highly recommend Gelsemium sempervirens "margarita". It is evergreen in zone 6, a strong but NOT aggressive grower, and covered in yellow trumpet flowers in spring. I have several and they never disappoint. The leaves stay on all year, even in last year's -4 temperatures and I'm in a windy spot.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2015 at 8:03PM
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