The Q&A Archives: Hedge for Sunny, Windy Location

Question: Need appropriate plants for a hedge in full sun that receives considerable wind. Prefer something no taller than 8 foot which are low maintenance and which flower and have fall color.

Answer: Plant selection for a difficult spot is always a bit of a process of elimination. No matter which plant you ultimately select, you will need to spend the first few years ensuring that it is well established in order to end up with an attractive hedge. You can help the new plants by putting a bit of a wind break such as snow fencing on the windy side, ensuring they receive adequate water and mulch and performing appropriate early pruning/training to encourage the desired shape of hedge.

Assuming average to good soil fertility, there are any number of "low maintenance" shrubs suited to full sun, some that will withstand wind. Adding the requirements of both showy bloom and fall color shorten the list considerably. Spirea would possibly suit, with its strength being flowers and its weakness being a moderate rather than spectacular fall color. Dwarf burning bush would possibly suit, with its weakness being a lack of ornamental blooms although it has fabulous fall color. Forsythia would possibly suit with great spring flowers, foliage which holds very late in the season then turning moderately, but it may ultimately grow larger than you would like. The shrub dogwoods might suit (especially if the soil is moist), although their blooms are not terribly ornamental and their fall color varies, they do have lovely brightly colored twigs in the winter time.

In addition to considering these types of plants, you might examine neighboring properties to see if there are any existing hedges which look attractive and appear healthy under similar growing conditions to your own. This is often a good indicator of plants that will do well for you. Good luck with your hedge!

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