The Q&A Archives: Hedges For Shady Areas

Question: I have just bought a house on a fairly busy road in New Jersey, and would like to plant a hedge to protect the yard from noise. The hedge would have to be fairly resistant to vibration as well as from shade from established trees. Do you have any suggestions for plants that can absorb noise and live in these conditions?

Answer: The conditions you describe are notoriously difficult. Ideally you would use evergreens to absorb noise. Evergreens in general however tend to prefer sun. If the shade is only partial, and if the tree root competition is not too severe, you might try yews or rhododendrons. In either case pay good attention to the soil preparation and watering until they are well established. I would not recommend these plants in a spot where they may be splashed with road salt, however. Alternatively and perhaps more reliably, you might consider erecting a fence and then covering that with vines. English ivy would provide an evergreen look and would cover the fence fairly quickly.

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