Shrub Advice; 5 - 9' tall, evergreen, green, red berries

drrich2(6)January 17, 2010

Hi:

We've got a back yard about 200' long & 120' wide, at the edge of town. I'm working on a shrub list to run down one side. The fence (home-made with treated posts, boards and farm wire) is ~ 5'4" tall. Southwestern KY, Zone 6.

Starting at the front corner, I've got 1 Golden Euonymus bush, then another 7.5' down, then 4 Emerald Green Arborvitae 7.5' down (spaced at 4' centers, to rise up & block the view of a neighbor's dog kennel), then 2 more Golden Euonymus bushes at 7.5' intervals. (Way down toward the far end are 2 Crepe Myrtle bushes).

I wanted to put 2 Heavenly Bamboo at 7.5' intervals, but found out they're a danger to dogs & we've got 3. 1 link on the topic:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080806134618AAoIze2

(I had another link, but evidently that site triggers GardenWeb's spam filter, so I can't link you to it directly).

I'm considering 2 Pyracantha 'Mohave' instead; hopefully upright. I'm not enthused about the thorns, though.

'Winter Red' winterberry (a type of holly) looks like a good choice; might use it, but it's deciduous. All other things being equal, I like lush greenery during winter, not that barren 'dead look' the country side acquires.

Is there perhaps an EVERGREEN holly with a pyramidal (not round) form reaching 6 - 8' tall (but not 20 or 30!) with pretty bright red berries that doesn't have prominent thorny leaves (such as could stick our Jack Russell's when he runs the fence row after my neighbor's 4-wheeler)?

I know holly berries are toxic, but the risk of serious harm seems mild. Heavenly Bamboo seems more worrisome, which is a shame since I'd like to've tried some.

I've got some other shrub plans for further down; Tatarian Dogwood 'Argenteo-marginata/Elegantissima,' & Roseglow Japanese Barberry (yeah, some thorns; wonder how bad?). Thanks is advance for your help!

Richard.

P.S.: Here are some pics of our backyard, taken over time, to give you some idea what we're working with.

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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Look at some of the evergreen viburnums--Prague, 'Allegheny', 'Green Trump'. Also, if your soil is acid, look at some of the big rhodies, many of which do okay in full sun. And consider non evergreen viburnums for the spring show and the berries, none of which are toxic to dogs.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 6:09AM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

Kudos to you for lining the fence with shrubs...I'd rather take a hot poker in the eye than look at a bare fence.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 2:11PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

BTW, if hiding the fence is your goal, you'll do much better with a very deep shrub border--at least 15 feet, and face down some of the larger shrubs with smaller ones. It will also look more attractive.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 6:22AM
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esh_ga

Is there a reason why you want to limit some of them to 9 feet tall? A mixed border can be very nice and having a few taller things would add to the effect.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 12:39PM
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drrich2(6)

Hi:

I've not been impressed with the look of viburnums in online pics; might have to rethink them.

I have thought about evergreen Rhododendrons and might use some. Our soil pH is fairly close to neutral, as I recall.

I don't want to completely hide the fence; that type of fence needs patching up from time to time, and I'm pretty good-sized; trying to crawl through a dense hedge would be a but much. I don't mind seeing some fence here and there; the shrubs through break it up & distract the eye from it.

We have a septic tank & leach field the side of which extends out maybe to that last Euonymus bush (and then runs across the yard, not long-ways); I don't want things that get way high, since I figure their rooting systems will be more elaborate.

Since the fence is about 5'4" tall, a shrub or small tree needing be very tall, and since many shrubs are about as wide as tall, I'm leery of getting big stuff. Basically, I like planting shrubs 2 or 3 feet from the fence; I don't want to have to plant 5 or 6' out from the fence, and take up a lot of yard space. The shrub row will also look strange if some shrubs are 4 - 6' tall, and a couple are 20' holly trees, for example.

Hence my preference for a pyramidal short holly, rather than a round bush (plus I like the pyramidal look better).

The Emerald Green Arborvitae get 12 - 14' tall, they say, but are there for a reason; kind of like I'm holding my hand up to block the view of that dog kennel.

Richard.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:34PM
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drrich2(6)

"a shrub or small tree needing be very tall"

Meant to type needn't, not needing. Sorry about that.

Richard.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 2:57PM
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drrich2(6)

Hi:

By the way, that leach field starting edge is roughly around 25 - 30 feet from where the shrub row will pass by; not an issue with root invasion for most shrubs, but the taller ones (e.g.: some hollies) could reach it. The main is to put Root Killer in the septic line twice yearly to prevent tree root invasion.

Anyway, made it out to a nursery today & looked at their winter left-overs, and did some online checking.

Probably the best holly tree I've found for what I want to do is the Oak Leaf Red Holly; very unusual for a holly in being hermaphroditic & capable of berry production without a male nearby. 14' tall & 8' wide is larger than I was hoping for, granted. A 'Little Red' would've been a better match, as it stays smaller, but it's a male plant & wouldn't give me berries.

Variegated Boxwood is surprisingly beautiful; similar to the Golden Euonymus with white instead of yellow trim, smaller leaves, a far cry from the 'plain' look I associate with boxwood shrubs.

We found a Viburnum we liked; the Leather Leaf. But they get too large for what we want.

Japanese Cleyera is looking good. 8 Â 10Â tall, 6 Â 10Â wide, evergreen, fairly fast-growing, green bush with some reddish highlights. Not seeing any substantial negatives so far.

Mugo Pine - 4 - 10' tall, wide spreading, basically a short-needled dense pine bush. Very cute. I might put one elsewhere in the yard.

Anyway, wanted to update the thread.

Richard.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 9:59PM
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wodka

I know you don't want to deal with the thorns, but I was also thinking that a mixed border that included pyracanthas would be very nice. I am shopping around for some, myself. They are fast-growing, low-maintenance and the red berried colors are so vivid and long-lasting.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:09AM
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