The Q&A Archives: living fence

Question: I want to plant some kind of shrubs or trees that I could keep trimmed around a riding ring. They should fill in to make a fence within a few years, not be prickly, and not be a hardwood that the horses would want to chew on. Any suggestions on what plants would work for this? i would like them to grow to at least 4 feet tall.

Answer: Eleagnus, Eleagnus pungens, is one of the fastest growing shrubs and grows as a superb barrier hedge or privacy fence that can grow up to 10 feet tall but you can keep it shorter. Pieris is another adaptable shrub and takes pruning well. 'Smaragd' Emerald arborvitae is another one to consider. Or, holly shrubs are distinctively varied, very adaptable, and versatile in the landscape. The most popular hollies are: Burford Holly, Ilex cornuta; Carissa Holly, Ilex cornuta 'Carissa'; Dwarf Chinese Holly, Ilex cornuta; Dwarf Japanese Holly, Ilex crenata; Helleri Holly, Ilex crenata; Needlepoint Holly, Ilex cornuta 'Needlepoint'; Sky Pencil Holly, Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'; Savannah Holly, Ilex x attenuata; Stokes Dwarf Holly, Ilex vomitoria 'Stokes Dwarf'; Dwarf Yaupon Holly, Ilex vomitoria; Weeping Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria pendula.

Best wishes with your new shrubs.

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