The Q&A Archives: Fast Growing Privacy Hedge

Question: I'm looking for a fast growing privacy hedge. The sun rises from left to right over the backyard. So, initially, it gets partial shade with afternoon sun.

Thank you.

Answer: Here are some descriptions for popular hedging/screening plants:

The Spiraea Van Houttei's (Spiraea vanhouttei) has dull bluish green foliage and the flowers are white, appearing in April-May. This is an outstanding deciduous shrub that is very showy in flower. Mature height and width is 6-8'. Best growth occurs in a sunny location, in any garden soil. The flowers are produced in spring after the leaves. The plant grows rapidly and is often used as a screen.

The Amur North River Privet (Ligustrum amurense) is an ideal hedge if you want a neat clipped appearance. It can be maintained at any height, making a thick dense hedge right down to the ground. The more it is trimmed the thicker this hedge gets. Reaches 12-15 feet tall if left untrimmed.

The lustrous green leaves stay on until late fall. Plant one foot apart to start your hedge. It has a very hardy dark green foliage.

Mock Orange,(Philadelphus x virginalis) is a compact, deciduous shrub that grows to only 5' tall and features fragrant, double white flowers that bloom profusely in late spring. Flowers appear in clusters with 5-7 flowers per cluster. It has oval, dark green leaves (to 3.5" long). The common name refers to the general resemblance of the sweetly fragrant flowers of this genus to those of orange blossoms.

Easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except for those that are poorly drained. Blooms on previous year's growth, so prune immediately after flowering. May be cut to the ground (also after flowering) if shrub becomes scraggly, unkempt or otherwise in need of rejuvenation.

The American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a deciduous, upright shrub. It produces black or purple berries that are great for wildlife and jams and jellies. It has light gray or brown bark and is arching in form. Produces attractive flowers and berries all season long. Flattened panicles of small white flowers are produced in midsummer.

This plant is a showy ornamental and has a fast growth rate. It grows up to 12 feet in height and 10 feet in spread. Prefers moist soil and full sun.

Hope one of these shrubs is just the right one for your landscape!

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