Hedging plant for clay soil

I've tried unsuccessfully for years to grow Viburnum as a hedge in my front garden and have just dug up the soil to discover that the soil is heavy clay after about 6-7 inches. The top 6 inches has clumps of clay in it. Can anybody suggest a good hedge for a site that gets good amounts of sunshine. Somebody suggested a PYRACANTHA (especially Mohave). Any comments??
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Pyracantha certainly makes a great hedge and is tolerant of heavy clay: make sure you have really thick gloves for pruning though, and give young plants a good start by making a biggish hole rather than just hacking a lump out of the clay.
Roses usually like heavy clays - what about mixing in a rugosa type rose hedge for flowers and rosehips? It's not evergreen, but it would be easier to prune than the pyracantha.
Victoria
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Why not turn the soil in the whole area to a foot depth, mix in some good compost or peat, & maybe even raise the bed a little with good soil that will get better drainage. There's not much that would ever be hedgeable that would want to grow in six inches of soil. Pyracantha maybe. Franchett's cotoneaster would grow large swiftly & well, but it's a fountaining shrub & couldn't be hedged square. Others that make good screening shrubs but don't hedge into artificial squares would include shrubby winter honeysuckle, western serviceberry, twinberry, or contorted hazels. But working the soil beforehand, you could stick to your first choice of viburnums.
--
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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When I said hedging, I didn't mean a formal hedge, but rather a high screening shrub. Something that would grow to about 5-6 feet high.
wrote:

front
clay
sunshine.
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wrote:

heavy
good
contorted
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|> |> > When I said hedging, I didn't mean a formal hedge, but rather a high |> > screening shrub. Something that would grow to about 5-6 feet high. |> |> I'm looking for something along the same lines, but mine needs to be able to |> tolerate mostly shade. Anyone have any ideas for me? |> |> Zone 5, clay soil...
That's the tube zone 5, I assume, so outer London. Someone from Kent or thereabouts needs to answer that. There certainly are suitable hedging plants for clay, but pretty well nothing will thicken up in shade in the UK, and the combination of our low light levels and shade is a nightmare.
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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able to

Sorry, that's zone 5 in the U.S. More specific, southeast Nebraska.
Thanks, Brigitte
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|> Sorry, I didn't realize I was replying to a cross-post
Sorry, nor did I :-)
Except for the Pacific north-west, there really isn't a lot of overlap on hedging plant requirements between the USA and UK. Some of the ones we grow will do well in many places there; others will die during the first winter or summer. And the same thing applies conversely - anything that takes clay here has to be SERIOUSLY resistant to its roots standing under water for months at a time.
And I mentioned the problem of the darkness in shade :-(
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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writes:

I think the problem is more related to the water than the clay alone. I have six varieties of vibunmum growing well in my heavy clay soil but my yard is on a slope and there is never any standing water. I did have some viburnum Judii succumbed to root rot because they were improperly planted.
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That is part of the point. Because there is effectively NO evaporation during the winter, and fairly little during spring and autumn, even clay slopes get saturated and stay saturated for at least some number of months. God help me, even my 60% sand soil does (though it is on the flat).
Regards, Nick Maclaren.
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front
clay
sunshine.
Hornbeam will do fine. Deciduous, but leaves retained in winter.
--
Anton



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Peter Brown wrote:

In my garden, I have really heavy adobe clay. The following shrubs seem to thrive and can make nice, informal hedges:
Burford holly (Ilex cornuta 'Burfordii Nana'), 3-4 feet
Eugenia (Syzygium paniculatum), 3-5 feet
Rhaphiolepis indica, 4-5 feet
Nerium oleander, 4-15 feet (depending on variety)
southern indica azalea, 2-3 feet
myrtle (Myrtus communis), 2-6 feet (depending on variety)
Pittosporum tobira, 3-15 feet (depending on variety)
Note, however, I keep adding much gypsum around some of these to lighten soil and improve the drainage. This is especially important for azalea. I can't do it for the oleander because it is on a steep hill that I had to have regraded; gypsum might weaken the slope by undoing the compaction that was needed to keep the slope in place.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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You have chosen unwisely. And how deep did you plant these poor unfortunate hedging shrubs?
Among the things suitable for hedges that grow well in our heavy clay soil are pyracantha, privet, holly, beech, cotoneaster, yew and hornbeam. I reckon they look best planted in segments about 3-4 metres long all the same species.
Depending on how thorny or toxic you like your plants some may be inappropriate choices for your garden.
Regards,
--
Martin Brown

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