I have a 4 to 5 foot high x 100' long "mound of dirt". It helps to
block the view of a busy rural highway. I want to start a evergreen
privacy hedge on the top of the mound. I would like it grow this hedge
as tall a prudent but keep the hedge fairly narrow. I am worried about
pests, diseases, and maintance. Also I would like to start the hedge
this year and have very little money. I hope have some good privacy in
five to seven years when I hope to sell the house. Any advice would
Beyond buying a lottery ticket and hoping for the best, we don't know where
you live, so it is hard to give specific advice.
In my area, (zone 6) one of the most common plants for a tall privacy hedges
is arborvitae. You can often get 4-5 foot high plants for around 20 each.
Planted four to six feet apart, you would have a reasonably dense, narrow
hedge in about 5 years. Costco has them in stock now for a good price.
However, at one every six feet, you would need about 17 at a cost of over
Another fast grower would be Leyland Cyprus. However, these can grow very
tall and put your property into deep shade.
Although it is a matter of taste, I find such hedges rather ugly. They sort
of scream "spite fence" or "KEEP OUT." The other problem is that often one
or two plants will die after several years. At that point you have a choice
of putting in another 5 foot plant for $20 or pay upwards of $100 for a
matching-size plant. Now your uniform hedge looks bad - like it has a
missing tooth, unless you can locate and pay for the larger plant. The
other problem with a single species hedge is that if there is a disease or
insect problem, you can lose your entire screen. This has happen in our
region. Many commercial properties and apartment complexes have berms with
white pines on them. Now all the pines are dead or dying and it looks like
hell. The cost to remove 100 feet of mature pines and replant would be
I would recommend that you drive around your area, looking at commercial
properties, up-scale subdivisions, golf courses, and parks. See what they
have used for screening. Unfortunately, nothing is going to be very
inexpensive. If it were me, I would consider using a mix of plants that
included evergreens, shrubs, and trees with an underplanting of sturdy
Oops, so it does. We don't know the exposure so what will be in shad
and what will be in sun will have to be determined by Spitz. The othe
request was for it to be narrow, so this may not work. So, to continue
a grouping (looks more pleasing in odd numbered groups) of Arborvita
(some are narrower then others) with Oakleaf hydrangea in fron
(carefree - no pruning, lovely fall color and pretty flowers lat
summer) and maybe some everblooming daylilies - yellows or whites stan
out against the green (search at google with the term: daylily
everbloom), a grouping of hollies with ninebark in front and hard
Geranium 'Rozanne' in front of that. 'Rozanne' starts blooming in Jun
and blooms until frost. Spreads to a nice clump and it's purpl
flowers are a knockout! Then a few yews, maybe Hicks yew with red twi
dogwood or yellow twig dogwood in front. Lovely colored twigs in th
snow. Only maintenance is to prune to the ground the oldest twig
every other year so the newer ones show their colors in the winter.
Before I list more ideas, such as winterberry with it's lovely re
fruits in the winter against the snow, we need to know the potentia
width of the planting area. Here's a couple of search engines where
you can search by zone and other attributes.
Btw, many of the plants I've mentioned offer berries to the birds,
nectar to the butterflies and extra winter interest for those long
winters in the snow.
Ditto what Vox said! Much more pleasing to the eye and will definatel
add to your property value. Maybe a grouping of Arborvitae with thre
ornamental flowering trees in front of them and some flowering shrub
to pick up the bloom after that. Then some evergreen hollies wit
early spring blooming shrubs in front and summer daylilies tha
rebloom. Some plants and some of the shrubs can be gotten as cutting
or trades at plant swaps (I can tell you where and how if you'r
interested), for SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) at some forums
cuttings from friends and relatives and the evergreens and trees can b
gotten at: http://www.arborday.org/
You can join for about $15.00 and get 10 free trees. Also see thi
site for postage only that others have been pleased with.
You have all be so great to help me out! This hedge will be my only
opportunity to block out the sights and more importantly sounds of the
busy rural highway. It is full sun and the house is atleast 50 ft away
from the mound at its closest point. I am trying to minimize the
negative effect on my future resale because I am the only house in the
neighborhood with property line on this busy road.
Spitz, you are so very welcome! As to the space, I actually wa
referring to the width of the mound, but you can still plant on th
slope of it. With that much space I would suggest that you try and d
your tallest plantings in groups of 3 or 5 and place each group in
staggered pattern, with the taller plantings at the end points lik
this: W Do consider the ultimate mature width and height. I woul
place the smaller shrubs and flowers on the house side of the scree
for esthetics from your property. That is where you will need t
determine the shade as the taller evergreen trees grow. If the su
will pass from north to south or east to west, you will need to kno
how much sun those shrubs and flowers will get after the trees ar
planted. If the house side of the planting will be north, that wil
limit what shrubs you can plant.
There are some wonderful vibrunums with flowers in the spring an
berries for the birds. Some grow quite wide but most are no
evergreen, especially in your zone 5 location. Here's a site abou
One of the loveliest viburnums is the Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosu
and they're hardy in your zone. Also known as doublefile viburnu
because it blooms in clusters along the horizontal stems with a row o
blossoms on each side of the stem, creating a double row. Conside
Viburnum plicatum 'Summer Snowflake' that gets up to 10' tall but onl
6' wide, or it's larger cousin Viburnum plicatum 'Shasta'. There i
even a variegated 'Shasta' now. Shasta can get quite wide, and in fron
of a group of three hollies, you would only need one to knock your sock
off when it's mature in size and in bloom. The 'tomentosum' viburnum
have layerd branches and sometimes people think they are some type o
In five years a one gallon pot (if you can find one that small) wil
probably have doubled in size. Larger ones may take a little longer
Figure when planting the saying: "The first year they sleep, the secon
year they creep and the third year they leap." It will take them a yea
to establish their root systems and you will need to water, in th
winter too if there's no snow cover and it's dry. Of course if you ge
lake effect snow, no problem. You'll just have to worry about dryin
The width of the mound is no more than a foot or two. The sides are 45
degrees or more. It is on the west side of the property so the winds
could tear it up. Little to no lake effect 20 to 30 miles west of the
Lake. I doubt I could plant on the west side of the mound because of
the property line.
I am worried about the hedge driving deep roots to the level of the
rest of the land. And I worried about pests that might make my hedge
A foot or two isn't enough to plant shrubs or trees. You will eithe
have to level the berm or add more to it. Don't know what to tell yo
about the wind other then you may need to stake the trees for a coupl
of years so their roots can anchor them.
Spitz Mcgee Wrote:
I have no clue what you mean about driving deep roots to the level o
the rest of the land, but in a 'berm' that is only a foot or two wide
it doesn't sound doable. You may need a consult with a landscap
As to pests, I would suggest you choose plant material that tends no
to be bothered by pests. Native plants would do best if this is you
worry. Don't choose some exotic that could have problems. That is wh
I made the plant material suggestions that I did. Many are natives o
tend to be hardy.
So the berm is bad, it runs north and south on the west edge of the
property. Yes it is tall an narrow. Funny a large mulberry has
voluteered right on top of it. What I meant by the driving deep roots
is that this berm is so tall and narrow that I was concerned that the
plants wouldn't reach enough moist soil with out deep roots. Thank
again for working through my confusion.
Spitz, you are very welcome. You will want to dig that mulberry ou
yesterday! The longer you wait to plant the more you will have to dea
with invasives. Mother nature doesn't like blank spaces and she wil
fill it with plants of her choice, not yours.
With the berm running north and south on the west side, you should hav
full sun on both sides, with the stronger sun on the west side of th
Plants that like good drainage will appreciate the raised height of th
soil. You might want to consider having it leveled and widened at th
top for planting and easier maintenance. You might be able to decreas
the angle of the slope as well. That way you could put the evergree
trees on the top and the shrubs, and any other plant material, on th
slope. You could either rent a mini bobcat or have it done by a pro.
You may also need to plant some groundcovers so you won't have wee
problems over time. It will also give the area a more finished look.
Try and pick 3 or 4 natives (you don't want too many or it will loo
too busy), or the creeping thymes, that won't invade the world and wil
help make maintenance easier for you. They'll help to hold the soil i
place on the slope and keep weeds at bay. The native Chrysogonu
virginianum aka 'green and gold' isn't evergreen but will surely kee
out the weeds. I've found that it's only real requirement is to mak
sure it isn't covered with wet leaves in the winter. For you
evergreen trees, it would make a lovely carpet.
I don't believe I said that!! I meant to say if the BERM is east t
west or north to south it will make a difference as to how much sun th
shrubs and flowers will get.
Thanks for catching that,
My doublefile viburnum (mariesii) quadrupled in size in one year, and by the
third year, I was having to give her a haircut every spring, as she reached
6 feet tall and about 10 feet in diameter. Either our soil is even richer
than I thought, or I accidentally found her the conditions she likes. She is
in part shade (all shade during the winter -north side of the house) in
fairly clayish rich black volcanic soil, but very rocky.
"Newt" > One of the loveliest viburnums is the Viburnum plicatum var.
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