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Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

Posted by jame76 3b/4a (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 15, 06 at 12:16

I am fairly new to a zone 3b/4a and I've noticed that it is very difficult to get information on conifers and evergreens that grow in this region. I have a neighbor with an unsightly house and yard and I would like to create some privacy without building a fence. The area is moist, neutral PH level, and full sun. It seems that everywhere I look I can only find zone 5 and up and zone 4 and below is extremely limited. Can anyone with personal experience in zone 3 or 4 suggest an evergreen screen that I can plant that is fast growing and that can grow in this cold region?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

Hi jame76

We have a row of Picea pungens 'Glauca', Colorado Blue Spruce, althou they are very tall, take years to mature and you'll need alot of space.

But there are some dwarf types nowadays.

In zone 4, you should be able to grow a hedge of Cedars, (Thuja). I'd check out your local nurseries, walk around the neighborhood and see what they have growing?

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I live in about the same hardiness zone as you jame76 since Canadian Zone 5 is really a USDA Zone 4 and I would grow Thuja as Sharon suggested. They are going to love your moist soil as they require water to grow well. They are going to take about 4 years to really fill in unless you purchase cultivated ones which will cost you a small fortune depending on how many trees you'll need.

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I dont know if "cedars" (thuja occidentalis) are considered quick growing (I guess it depends on your definition of quick), but I highly recommend them as well. They grow approximately 8 to 10 inches a year and like moist sunny sites. They do tolerate some drought once established but be sure to water regularly the first year or two if the area is dry. Cultivars such as thuja occidentalis brandon, wareana skybound are exceptionally winter resistant (among others).

Maybe do internet searches for information about them. Best to search with the complete botanical name, example, "thuja occidentalis brandon" "thuja occidentalis wareana", etc.


RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I would add the cultivar 'Techny' to the Thuja occidentalis list. Where I work there is a nice row of about 20 that many customers see and want the same thing. Some Thujas discolor in the winter, but this 'Techny' screen stays a nice green.

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I'm with everyone else on the Thuja. We have the wild kind - dh dug them up in the bush and planted them across the front of our lawn. This was about 15 or so years ago. I think there are four of them altogether, and they've been an effective screen for quite a few years now.

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

Thank you for all of your helpful responses. I just wanted to let everyone know about a website that I found posted here that is extremely helpful. You can list the type of plant, soil, light, and zone and it will give you a complete list with photos. The site is Thanks again

RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I like Techny as well, but they do have the very multiple trunk syndrome. Do think about thinning them out before they get too large, so snow loads won't "split" them apart in winter. Techny is also one of the widest growing of the species.

I started a thread in the conifer forum a year ago, asking about the single trunk vs multiple trunk genetics. You see all the wild Minnesota arborvitae are single trunked, and all the varieties (with the exception of Nigra) are multiple trunked. I didn't get a clear cut answer as I had hoped. Multiple trunk tendencies are apparently not endemic to any particular region.


RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

I like my 'Emerald Green' Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) for it's excellent Winter color, too. It gets about 12' tall x 4' wide. It would be wise to warn you, though, that Deer are quite fond of Thuja, too. (Yum!)


RE: Evergreen screen for zone 3b/4a

Spruce can be pruned into a hedge. If you go with colorado spruce get a named culivar. The color varies enormously. A hedge made from genetically diverse specimens will look blotchy and sick.

I've heard that larch, and white pine can both be pruned into hedges.

If you have room for a double hedge, plant two rows of
shrub type willows. Get two varieties that have
contrasting winter stem color. On alternate years you cut
one row to the ground in early spring. This keeps them
producing lots of colorful stems.

If you are worried about willow roots invasiveness, you
could use one of the dogwoods, or get willows that are water lovers, sculpt a swale into the spot where you will ahve the hedge, and flod irrigate it. I would expect that
the willows would keep their roots wehre the water is.

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