Arbor Vitae in shade

woodswalker88(6)April 15, 2012


How well does Arborvitae do in partial shade?

I would like to plant some Arborvitae as a screening shrub. The area I want to screen is along a road, and there is a row of dogwood trees & a large oak about 15 feet in from the road.

here is a pic, entitled 'roadside problem'.( I tried to create shrub beds by putting last fall's leaves in a pile & enclosing it with wire fence.)

I believe the area along the road gets a good deal of sun but I am also concerned that a row of arborvitae or other screening shrubs may compete with the dogwoods for nutrients.

Can anyone suggest good screening shrubs for this area. I also am avoiding plants that grow to a tremendous size (height or width.)



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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

arbs can get rather large.. so a specific cultivar would be necessary ...

and that is getting pretty close to the road.. is that actually your property.. or is that the easement ...

there would be nothing worse.. than the city coming along the year they finally look great.. and taking them down for interfering with the road ..

and that is not mush shade.. for a green conifer ... they would probably.. otherwise do OK there ...

if you go this route.. be sure.. to INSURE.. that you get and use SINGLE LEADER PLANTS ...


    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Actually the cultivar I'm thinking of is "yellow Ribbon", because it not only tolerates shade, but also Clay soil, which is what we have here.

If this tree grows to 5 ft by about 3 ft wide, I would be very happy. I don't want anything huge. In fact I"m not thinking about a solid hedge right now...I think a mix of shrubs might look better for those 2 areas.

Presently my mode of action has been "serendipity". As in "go to Lowes or the garden store and if I see a shade-tolerant shrub, grab it." Especially when it is discounted! (so far I have a few viburnums & burning bush, plus a dappled willow, and a hydrangea that isn't doing well.

The selection of shade-tolerant shrubs seems to me to be limited to "azalea, rhododendron, hydrangea". A few that I missed?

Could you explain about Single Leader? You mean it only has one "point" at the top, rather than branching out?

Also, I'm not sure about "easements" to road. We live in an Township, and it is a suburban/semi rural area, and the road is a side road that doesn't get heavy traffic. If it isn't in the twp ordinances, would I consider it OK? (I'd rather not talk to the twp. I had a battle with them about the bar I used to live next to.)

Most likely I wouldn't plant anything right next to the road...more like about 8 ft back. That's so I can still have occasional visitors use the space as a parking space!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:39PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Arbs (Thuja occidentalis) are listed as very sensitive to salt. How is the salt spray from the road?


    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

A common situation is that the shade makes them thin and transparent. When site conditions are not prime arborvitaes grow sparse crowns. Too dry, too dark, too...and you do not get the same fullness as in a good spot.

Same as with yews and hemlocks, these put up with shade - are even adapted to it - but do not grow densely there, unless the shade is quite light.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:35AM
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I thought yew likes shade all right? But a mix of deciduous shrubs would be much more exciting!

Ninebark, arrowwood viburnum, old-fashioned lilacs. Rose of sharon, forsythia, quince, mock orange. Red-twig dogwood shrubs for winter interest. A mix of small, medium, large. Hydrangeas love water, keep them close to the hose. I have seen every one of these planted in light shade.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 8:34PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

conifers are trees.. and as such.. THEY NEVER STOP GROWING ...

most size estimates .. are at ten years.. and if you divide any number by 10.. you get the annual growth rate..

and at 20 years ... they will be twice as tall .. in a full sun situation ...

the performance of yellow tissue.. as to how yellow.. is a function of direct sun ... so the darker it is.. the less yellow YOU MIGHT HAVE ....

when it all boils down ... all you can do it try it.. because shade.. and plants ability to cope with such.. is really dependent on your location ... your soil.. and your 'shade'

why you would use all of one type.. is beyond me.. use both green and yellow version .... and dont miss holmstrop yellow ...


    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:04AM
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