The Q&A Archives: Hedge Woes

Question: I'm looking for a fast-growing, relatively inexpensive, non-privet hedge to plant over approximately 50 + feet of yard. I am trying to screen my neighbors driveway, which currently houses 5 cars and a school bus. I would like the hedge to require as little fuss as possible. Flowers are not important. Staying green all winter is. What are some suggestions for plants? How large should they be when I purchase them?

Answer: There are a number of choices for your area, and you should start with plants that are at least in one-gallon containers. You can save money by purchasing smaller plants, but they'll take much longer to fill in and reach the desired height. Try Escallonia, which flowers in the summer, Osmanthus, Thuja (an evergreen from the Cedar family), Leyland Cypress, Yew, Purnus lusitanica (Portugal Laurel) or Pyracantha. Holly (Ilex) is attractive when clipped into a hedge, and provides red berries in the autumn and winter. All of these plants are relatively care-free. Be sure to prepare the planting bed by amending with organic matter before planting, and provide your new plants with at least an inch of water per week while they're becoming established. The closer you space your plants, the sooner they will fill in. After you've made your choice, check with the nursery to see how far apart to plant them.

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