The Q&A Archives: Formal tall hedge-fast growing, non-invasive roots

Question: I am looking for a fast growing hedge that can be sheared to a very formal look. Eight feet tall by about 18-24 inches thick. The look is very parterre. Love the look of the green gem ficus, but cannot have anything root invasive. Don't love privet because of the white shoots. Help! Don't like podocarpus-too lacy. Also any berries cannot be poisonous as I have an 18 month old. Thank you-

Answer: The most popular choices for narrow-leaf evergreen hedges in your region are arborvitae, hemlock, pine, spruce and yew. Many people choose Dark American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ?Nigra?) as their favorite for sunny areas. For a very narrow hedge, Vertical Yew (Taxus media ?Vertical Selection?) is one of the best choices because it can be maintained as narrow as 18 inches wide and will grow in partial shade. Broadleaf evergreens such as boxwood, holly and rhododendron give a different effect. For a low hedge to outline a path, ?Green Gem? Boxwood (Buxus) is deer resistant, undemanding in its soil preferences, and easy to grow in sun or shade. A ?PJM? Rhododendron hedge provides foliage colors that change with the season and features spectacularly colorful flowers as spring begins. And what can compare to a ?Blue Princess? Holly hedge for creating a dense barrier with glossy dark green leaves all year, and red berries in winter.

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