The Q&A Archives: hedges

Question: I recently purchased a home and would like to plant a hedge for privacy. I would like one that is fast growing and one that will provide refuge for the birds,etc. what are the disadvantages of the Siberian elm vs. the Washington hawthorn? Also, which holly grows into a tree rather than a bush?

Answer: Two fast-growing varieties of Siberian elm are 'Dropmore' and 'Hamburg Hybrid' (4-6'/year!), but the wood is brittle and breaks easily under wind and ice. Hawthorn doesn't grow as quickly, but it's other attributes recommend it -- berries, colorful fall foliage, and it is often used as a hedge. There are many, many hollies to choose from, and the bonus is that they're evergreen, and have berries (if you have male and female plants). Growth habit, leaf shape, and color varies immensely among species and varieties. Check out the stock at your local nurseries. I recommend Chinese or Japanese hollies. Remember that your soil type, shade/sun and other growing conditions should be a major influence in your plant choice. Enjoy!

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