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Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover??

Posted by highnote 7 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 28, 10 at 20:05

I'm looking to plant some large evergreen shrubs/trees for privacy.

They need to be:
1. disease/insect resistant (I dont want to be out there spraying them every year)
2. Shade tolerant (lots of shade, especially in summer)
3. able to grow in acidic clay soil (we dont have much topsoil before getting down to clay)
4. "maintenance free"
5. Not a slow grower
6. For zone 7
7. Inexpensive (mail order is great)
8. Evergreen
9. At least 15-20 feet tall mature height (higher is better)
10. Deer resistant

If there is no "perfect plant" that fits all of these qualifications, I'm open to hear suggestions for plants that fit "most" of them. Some are not negotiable, such as "evergreen" and "shade tolerant".

Right now there is a lot of mountain laurel and holly filling the surrounding forest. There's just one area where the property line is visible, and I wanted to fill in that area with thick, evergreen vegetation. I dont care how it looks, as long as it forms a good privacy buffer.

Anything out there that fits this bill?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

  • Posted by artdeco 5 - Chicago NWburbs (My Page) on
    Tue, May 4, 10 at 10:14

I have a similar situation, except my shade is created by big old black walnut trees so I have the Juglone headache to contend with.
The only imperfect solution I found is Arborvitae - some varieties are listed a being slightly shade tolerant. I started w/ 'Brabant', but they thinned-out quickly, so I moved them closer into a zig-zag row, which meant I needed alot more plants - but the following season I couldn't find any more in our local area. So, I instead added 'Dark Green/Nigra' to the row, knowing they'll also struggle.
They do have more bugs due to the shade, and I need quick privacy so mail-order wasn't an option (plants are smaller).
Good luck!

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

Here are my suggestions: Camelia, Rhododendron, and Mountain Laurel. They are all evergreen and do well here in zone 7 eastern PA. They may not be fast growers and I don't know if they will all grow to be as tall as you want, but the rhodo definitely will, but either way, I thought this might give you a place to start.

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

Be wary of a fast growing evergreen...I think the name is Thula or Thule, a kind of Arborvitae. My son planted about 70 of them last Fall...they are all dead now. I had hoped they would grow great here in Colorado as I am looking for a fast-growing inexpensive evergreen too.

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

Thanks for the advice. As for the rhododendron, what subgenus? There are a lot (some evergreen, some not) (some smaller, some tall). What subgenus is evergreen and very tall?

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

White pine. Their saplings are fairly shade tolerant, they love acidic and clay soil, they grow very tall. Deer love to eat them, though.

As for shrubs, I like American Holly or English Holly.

RE: Need tall evergreen, shade tolerant, inexpensive, thick cover

You might consider Morella californica, aka Myrica californica, or California Wax Myrtle.

It does well in sun and shade, and can tolerate sandy or clay soil on the West Coast. It should be available through mail order if you can't find it in your area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Great Plant Picks

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