The Q&A Archives: Shrubs for sunny location

Question: I want to soften the impact of a wall made of railroad ties that is 36 ft. long and 5 ft high tapering to 3 ft. It is in a sunny location on the south side of a hill. I am thinking of tall shrubs or short trees (5 ft or so) with lower shrubs interspersed with them. Easy maintenance is preferred.

What would you suggest?

Answer: For easiest maintenance, the plants need to be well suited to the soil. These require a slightly to medium acidic soil (5.5-6.5): boxwood, privet, dwarf junipers, and hollies. All will need some irrigation during the first year, and protection from strong winter winds and sun. Once they are established and growing well, they should be able to withstand the rigors of exposure, as long as they are healthy during the growing season. You need to water during dry spells the second summer. For the first few springs, topdress the soil with an inch of compost and cover it with bark mulch. You can continue this practice annually for best results, depending on your energy level! Best of luck!

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