Privacy screen suggestions?

I'm looking for ideas on plants I could use as a privacy screen between my house and the neighbors. Here is my situation: I'm in Zone 6, dry climate. My neighbor and I want to create a privacy screen between our houses. We don't want to erect a fence but are looking at other alternatives, such as planting bushes or other plants that will grow (preferably fairly rapidly) into a natural privacy screen that extends from ground level to about 6 ft. tall. We would prefer using something that would provide privacy year 'round, such as evergreens. Our houses are only about 15-20 feet apart and the area in between is very shady because the two houses keep it shaded most of the day. Also, there are two tall pine trees (with no lower branches)situated close to the property line. The area we are looking at is about 20 feet in length. Thanks for any suggestions anyone might have. Gary
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I have a similar situation with my neighbor. I decided to plant hemlock, a beautiful evergreen which is shade tolerant and can be trimmed to the 6 foot height you want. I'm in zone 5, but they should work in zone 6, as well. I'm spacing mine every 6 feet, or so, and although small now, they should fill in after a few years. Hemlock prefers damp, well drained soil, slightly acidic.
Sherwin D.
Gary wrote:

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Sherwin & Pete- Thank you for the excellent suggestions. I will need to do some further research to see if hemlock would thrive in my area. We are quite dry, and our soil tends to be a little more on the alkaline side of the continuum, but it still might work. This would make a very nice, natural-looking screen. The woven willow fedge is a very interesting idea, as well. We do have several varieties of willow trees and bushes here - some native, some not. One of the photos in the Bluestem link reminded me of a couple of woven willow chairs my grandparents had. I believe the chairs came from the Ozarks, but I'm not sure. This application could make a great divider! Thanks again to both of you, Gary
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Does willow grow in zone 6 ? My brother grew a willow 'fedge' 30 x 7 foot in the UK. http://www.simplywillow.co.uk/willow4/page3.html
The only supplier in the US seems to be sold out for '05 http://www.bluestem.ca/living-willow-structures.htm but in view of the fact, you get an instant hedge (fedge?) after 12 months, it may be worth reserving for '06.
Pete
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in
Willow is a water hog. The best thing to do is to drive around your local area and see what is triving and what it is that you like. What would do splendidly on Long Island would not do at all in Phoenix. Posting where you are might help people offer suggestions but even then there is an issue of micro-climates which is why you want to look at your local neighborhood.

months,
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Willow is a water hog. That would definitely be a consideration, since here in Colorado we often have to conserve water, especially in these recent years of drought. Thanks!
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What part of Colorado?
http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Trees/xeris7.htm http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/Trees/think.htm
"If you're looking for an evergreen that would fit into a smaller landscape, a good choice would be the Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata). Bristlecones can grow up to 20 feet tall but rarely spread more than 10 feet wide. Their growth rate is considered slow but they do not require much water so would be a good choice for a naturalized area in a yard. Bristlecone pines are well known for surviving in harsh environments and living for many years without needing much care.
They are distinctive with their gnarled and twisted growth, sticky white resin on the needles (some people confuse the resin for pine needle scale), and dark green needles that are displayed in bundles of five. "

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I'm in Western Colorado near the Utah border - Grand Jct., actually, if you know where that is. Do you know if Bristlecone Pines retain their branches and needles all the way down to ground level in shady areas. I have some other Ponderosa-type pine trees that have dropped the needles off their lower branches and over time the branches died as the trees grew taller. We have some beautiful Blue Spruce around here, but they get much too large for the space I have. The links you included were very helpful! Thanks again, Gary
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I was born in Meeker. I don't know about these pines retaining their branches and needles to ground level. The lost of lower branches has happened with some of my pines but only after many years... and then I just plant Rhodies under them. I don't think that would work in your area. I just bought a Leyland cypress for a corner of my yard and saw some really pretty cedars of other types that are medium size and I think would do better at keeping the lower branches... This site says the Leyland can be trimmed to keep small. If you do it right, it would keep it's lower branches.
http://ag.udel.edu/extension/information/hyg/hyg-91.htm

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