The Q&A Archives: hedge

Question: I have clay soil. The hedge will be in sunny conditions. Like boxwoods. What do you recommend.

Answer: Your zip code places you in zone 6A or the coldest part of zone 6. Depending on your microclimate, that might be as cold as zone 5. So, you need to look at shrubs that are winter hardy to zone 5 or colder, grow well in full sun and also tolerate a clay soil. You might look at lilac, arborvitae, burning bush, chaenomeles, shrub dogwoods, weigela, winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata), and yews. If the site is quite well drained, you might also be able to grow junipers and even possibly one of the hardier varieties of boxwood or posibly Pieris japonica, but if the site is at all windy I would not suggest any broad leafed evergreens as they will tend to dry out in the winter time and become stressed. I would strongly suggest you consult with your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff who should be able to help you analyze the growing conditions (sun, wind, soil type, soil moisture levels, height and width desired, etc.) Based on a more detailed understanding of your growing conditions and overall design goals, they should be able to help you identify suitable plants that will do well there, then you would make your selection from among those. Enjoy your new hedge!

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