The Q&A Archives: Evergreen Privacy Screen Needed

Question: I have a large yard of which one side borders a very noisy and unatractive street. The yard is also very sloped and the house sits much highher than the street. I am looking for a plant (preferably and evergreen) that will grow quickly and tall that I can use the screen out the noise and the view. There is an added parameter which is making my search more difficult and that is that the area that I am concerned about is in almost complete shade in some areas and at-best partial shade in others. I am not adverse to planting multiple rows of trees if it will better my ods. The house is located in SE PA (zone 6 I believe).

Thank you in advance for your help . . .

Answer: You have listed a difficult set of conditions to meet. Although there are columnar, tall forms of arborvitae that are partly shade tolerant, they would need more sun to do well over time. Hemlocks are shade tolerant but no longer recommended due to probelms with the adelgid pest. There are tall narrow junipers, but they require full sun and a well drained soil. While yews will tolerate some shade, they tend to grow in a rounded shape overall rather than upright. Depending on the height required, you might find that the large catawba rhododendrons will do the job.

Alternatively, you might consider planting something closer to the house so that less plant height is required to block the view. Although evergreens can block some amount of sound, they are not totally effective. You might also consider a fence and plant a vine such as English ivy or fall blooming clematis to soften the look of it. These are both shade tolerant and easy to grow.

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