The Q&A Archives: Hedge For Shade

Question: We want a hedge/divider for privacy. We only get about 2 hrs. of sun. Would privet grow in mostly shade? Are there any evergreens that grow well in shade in zone 4 that can be 'hedged'?

Answer: Unfortunately, privet prefers more sun that you have. But there are other options which will tolerate so little sun. Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) and Yews (Taxus) are both commonly planted because they are easily pruned and maintained and make excellent hedges. Not all varieties are acceptable. For Arborvitae avoid "Woodwardii" which tends to brown in the winter. "Emerald," "Nigra," and "Techny" maintain their green much better throughout the winter. Check out Taxus cuspidata "Capitata" or Taxus xmedia "Hatfieldii" or "Hicksii" which are commonly used for hedges. Yews have the added advantage of generally being disease and insect-free.

Because you will have a lot of time, labor and money invested in a hedge, talk to several authorities at your local nurseries before you make your final selection.

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