The Q&A Archives: need an evergreen viburnum

Question: I have a six foot privacy red cedar fence including 18 inches of latice on top. I would like to have an airy evergreen bush-Perhaps viburnum -to soften the fence but not totally cover it. I would like to still be able to see the latice. Can you please recomend something with a pretty white flower also.

Answer: Unfortunately I am unable to think of any evergreen that would be airy enough that you could see the lattice through it. The foliage on evergreen viburnums tends to be not only dense, but also droops nearly vertical in cold weather so it is not at all see through. (Viburnums as a group will also be too tall -- well beyond the height of your fence.) Rhododendrons are also very dense and droop in cold weather, although in a shady area they can sometimes grow thin enough to seem a bit airy. Pieris japonica would also be too dense to see through, although there are some shorter maturing varieties that might top out below the level where the lattice begins. The above three are availablle with white flowers, though. The closest thing I can think of would possibly be Nandina domestica. This shrub has a somewhat airy look if kept thinned, has white flowers (and red berries) and would eventually reach the botom of the lattice. It is however only semi-evergreen so it defoliates in mid winter. Your local professional nursery staff may also have some suggestions based on more detailed understanding of the growing conditions where you want to plant this and your overall design goals. Good luck with your project!

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