Hedge Advice - Knowledgebase Question

Coventry, RI (Zone 6A)
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Question by zoey26
February 12, 2006
I'd like to know what my best bet would be for a hedge. I'm in zone 6, moist soil, 80ft. which consists of partial shade to full sun. I'm looking for something with moderate to fast growth, dense growth and would like to keep it at 4'-5'.

Answer from NGA
February 12, 2006
There are many shrubs that could be used for a hedge, either formally clipped or informally and left to develop their own natural shape. There are several factors you may want to keep in mind as you make your selection.

Your zip code places you in zone 6A or the coldest part of zone 6, and depending on your microclimate that might actually be as cold as zone 5 -- especially if it is a windy spot. So I would suggest you look at plants that are hardy at least to zone 5.

Due to the difference in light, there will be a noticeable difference in growth from the sunny end to the shadier end of your hedgeline. The shadier end will be thinner, less dense and less vigorous so it will be difficult to maintain an even, formal appearance. Depending on how much shade, you might be better off using two different plants, one that loves sun and one that tolerates shade. Also, if the shade is due to trees, you may need to take into account competition from tree roots.

You might be able to use one of the shrub dogwoods or possibly one of the deciduous winterberry hollies (Ilex verticllata) or if you need an evergreen, possibly the inkberry holly (Ilex glabra) as these would tolerate both sun and some shade and appreciate a moist soil.

However, it is really difficult to make plant recommendations long distance, so I would suggest you work with your local county extension and/or professionally trained nursery staff to analyze the growing conditions where you want to put the hedge, and then knowing that, help you identify plants that would thrive there, and then use your favorite(s) from those.

Best of luck with your hedge!

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