The Q&A Archives: Shade Border evergreens

Question: I have a border between my yard and my tenant's yard that I want to screen year round. The location is next to a fence and gets about 4 hours of direct sun each day from one direction only and at an angle. The rest of the day the light is mostly filtered sun thereafter. It is partially shaded by a mature Pagoda Tree above with branches starting at 9-10 feet above the soil. I need about 6 to 7 feet of height (if a cone shape) and 5 to 6 feet if full flat top shape. I have used yellow ridge bamboo as part of the border in a sunnier spot along the same fence and it has done very well. But I fear that the shadiness won't work for the bamboo so I thought of other evergreens. Could you suggest a bamboo that might work for this purpose or an arborvitae or one of its relatives (maybe a hemlock, holly or yew)? I also want something that is hardy and requires little care. the soil is a bit packed but fairly well drained and usually moist due to an irrigation system that I installed in the garden. I am looking to order this ASAP so please let me know soon. Thanks

Answer: Unfortunately, based on your description of the planting location I am not able to make any specific recomendations -- that is just so difficult long distance. I would suggest you work with your local professional nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions and determine which plants might possibly thrive there, then make your selectin from among those. It is possible a yew or a holly might work, however it depends how much sun the area actually receives and how much competition there is from the tree as well. Also Monrovia is a wholesale only nursery and does not sell retail by catalog or online, so you would need to check local availability in any case, rather than order. You can locate retailers that carry Monrovia (and other) products using the zip code based search feature at

Best of luck with your landscaping!

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