The Q&A Archives: Manhattan Euonymus: Shade, Shearing, Spacing

Question: I'm considering Manhattan Euonymus as a hedge along my backyard property line -- roughly 60 feet back to an tall elm tree. Will the shaded portion flourish? How narrowly can I shear Manhattan with it still looking lush? To know how many to buy, how closely should they be planted?


Manhattan Euonymus grows best in sun but it will also grow in shade, however it will grow at a different rate in different lighting conditions so it may not be as uniform as you would like, at least in the beginning phase. (Over time, too, the tree will provide competition and steal light, water and nutrients from any hedge plant so those plants under the tree will naturally be thinner and less lush.) It is a relatively fast growing plant and can be sheared and it is often recommended for a sheared hedge type of use. Although plants can reach five feet wide, typical hedge spacing would be about three feet apart. For a generous and healthy hedge it might be trimmed two feet wide at the top, three to four feet wide at the base and about four to five feet tall. Hedges should always be trimmed at an angle (narrow top, wider base) to allow sun to reach the base, if this is not done then the plant usually becomes bare at the bottom. This is an interesting plant in that it can be trained against a fence almost as an espalier, if you need to keep it narrower. The fence provides support so the plant itself can be trimmed more severely. Just as a suggestion, if you need solid evergreen coverage and have very little space, you might be happier with English ivy growing on a fence as this would only require a bare minimum width and the ivy tolerates shade and under-tree conditions very well -- it also requires less trimming.

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