The Q&A Archives: screening shrubs for mostly shady area

Question: I want to plant screening shrubs in two voids along the back border of my yard, in front of a 4' fence. There's a large maple in the left corner, then a large void, a cluster of 3 small maples, another void and then two more clusters of small maples, then the right corner. Would like screen to grow tall fairly quickly. Area gets a little sun in the am, mostly filtered light.

Answer: I'd plant Thuja arborvitae. Either 'Emerald Green' or 'Hetz Wintergreen. 'Emerald Green' grows narrow and upright, a very manageable 3' in width and 10' tall. You'll often see 'Emerald Green' grown along a fence-line with sometimes a dozen or more in a row. Because of its narrow circumference, it's also an ideal foundation plant next to a house. 'Hetz Wintergreen' Is a shrub that gets a little more height and girth on it than the 'Emerald Green'. 'Hetz' can grow to 5' wide and up to 20' tall, making it a nice back-of-the-border shrub.

Or, Rhamnus 'Fine Line' fernleaf buckthorn. Great leafy texture and ornamental bark make this buckthorn interesting as a specimen or with several in a row to provide privacy. Grows 5'-7' tall and 2' wide.

Best wishes with your new plants!

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