Help with a hedge to block highway?

newbiedebAugust 19, 2012

Hi, I am hoping someone here can help me with a hedge, I'm afraid I don't know much about gardening.

The front of my house is very near a major highway and due to the dust, noise and general lack of privacy (plus zero curb appeal at this point) I am thinking of adding a very long hedge.

I am in zone 5, so plants have to be very salt tolerant. Also, because this is a 120 foot strip, cost has to be considered as well.

I am considering either Peking Cotoneaster, Cheyenne Privet or Rugosa Roses as my hedge. All seem ok for the salt and temperature, as well as full sun, but I guess the big question is whether this would look ok for a stretch this long? Any recommendations as to which would be easier to care for? I think the Common Purple Lilac is also an option under my conditions, but didn't know if their growth pattern would look too "sloppy" for a hedge?

I would absolutely love the Rugosa's but don't know if I'm taking on too much with 120' of wicked thorns.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I have a common purple lilac hedge that's at least 120' in length. It's old - ancient - and they've grown together in a solid dense mass all uniform in height, 15-16 feet. In fact, my whole block which consists of two houses is hedged with lilacs. Needless to say, in bloom, it's a show stopper.

I don't coddle them in any way, save for an arborist every ten years or so to take out any dead wood. Very salt tolerant as our roads are heavily snow treated.

Some people might think it has the potential to be boring, but I love it. In leaf, the privacy is complete.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 6:39PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Ditto what duluth says! Almost 50 years later, I still have vivid memories of the deep purple lilac hedge between the road and the schoolyard at the rural elementary school I attended! When I was last 'home' about 15 years ago, the hedge was still there, although the school has been converted to a house. The ditch between the road and the lilac hedge was colonized by blue-flag irises; blue-eyed grass grew in the playing fields; painted and red trilliums and dog-toothed violets grew in the scrub cedar wooded areas surrounding the playground. Thank you for bringing back fond memories... :-)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 7:49PM
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I just don't think the common purple syringa vulgaris can be beaten. Fragrance is intoxicating. These were planted in 1900 when this property was the kitchen and "strolling" gardens for the house across the avenue. Everything but the lilacs have undergone a couple of reincarnations over the decades though.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I will take a much closer look at the Lilacs. If you dont mind another question, do they require much pruning? They would definitely fit in with the age and style of the house. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Assuming you have @ 15' of width (acounts for the mature width of the multi-trunked plant plus any arching the branches might do) they'll never need pruning.

As said, beyond occasional attention by an arborist, mine are left alone to do what lilacs do. I have plenty of space; they don't hang over the public sidewalk or eat up any substantial amount of my front yard.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Thanks Duluth! They sound perfect for what I'm after!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:17AM
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Duluthinbloomz4, This is the second time I've heard you mention this hedge and I hope that the next time it blooms you will post a good photo or two or three of it. To me, the hedge sounds spectacular. I wish I could have such a hedge! And if you can figure out any way to make photos be 'scratch and sniff,' it would be most welcome!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 4:10PM
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