The Q&A Archives: Evergreen Hedge - Hardy And Fast-Growing

Question: I am looking for a very hardy and extremely fast-growing evergreen shrub to use as a hedge. It needs to be tall, as our neighbors are on a hill, and I want a dense barrier. Yew, juniper, and arborvitae seem to be the popular recommendations - what are the differences between them that I should consider? Price is also a consideration - the area is 80' x 100' and since we just moved in, we don't have a lot of cash.

Answer: Unfortunately, most evergreens grow relatively slowly and so plants of a larger size will be expensive. In making your selection you need to be aware of the type of soil you have, the amount of light it will receive and whether or not the site is very windy. Juniper requires good drainage and full sun to do well, yew will grow in full sun or partial shade but does better with some protection from wind, and the arborvitaes will tolerate a moister soil than the other two. Between the three there are also many varieties to select from with their own individual characteristics such as ultimate size and shape as well as needle color.

Sometimes you can achieve a more effective screening faster by planting in drifts or groupings strategically placed closer to your house, rather than planting a hedge at the perimeter. For instance, a planting of several large shrubs next to your patio or deck will block your view far faster than the same few plants placed far out into the yard.

You might also consider some of the deciduos plants that grow faster and are far less expensive initially. Both privet and forsythia leaf out early and hold their foliage late and grow very dense to make an effective screen in a hurry.

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