The Q&A Archives: Low-Maintenance Hedges with Minimal Spread

Question: I would like to install an 8' to 12' shrub "screen" along part of my property line. I live in zone 5 and the site is in full sun until about 4pm. My problem is that my backyard is relatively small. All of the shrubs I've looked at have a spread almost equal to their height and I just don't have the room. Could you recommend something in that height that has a spread of only 5' max? I'm looking for something that doesn't require a lot of trimming. I'm also open to other suggestions for a plant screen if you think they might work better. Thanks. Steve Cable Canton, IL

Answer: Try White Cedar. I've seen some spectacular hedges...tall and narrow. There are some columnar types that would be suitable. The botanical name is Thuja occidentalis. The common names are Eastern Arborvitae, American Arborvitae, and White Cedar. Another possibility are columnar junipers such as 'Wichita Blue'. These also grow more vertical than horizontal and require little trimming and care.

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