Fast growing shrub for hedge...

MattClaraAugust 27, 2012

I know this question gets asked every so often, and I've read lots of responses on the web, including some here at Garden Web, but here's my dilemma. I've been told that Arborvitae is a fast growing conifer that works well as a hedge. More research indicates that not all varieties are fast growing, and the giant emerald green arborvitae is the fastest. But I don't want a giant hedge, and in particular I'm not interested in one more than two or three feet in depth, so it doesn't take up a significant portion of my yard space, but I also don't want to wait 10 years for a decent hedge. And, of course, I want something I find attractive (I like the arborvitae, and I've looked at some yew that are very nice, too)...

Any help?


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

giant emerald green arborvitae is the fastest.

==>>>no.. no.. no..

emerald green.. smargard is slow ...

the fast one is green giant ... which will get too big..

why not a wooden fence.

with what sounds like a tiny yard.. i cant think of anything.. that would be fast.. and thin.. and not be a 'i have to shear it twice a year plant' ...

more facts on the actual yard and space.. and a pic.. would probably be best.

your best bet MIGHT BE... thuja occ. de groots spire ...mine is 12 feet high.. and about 2 feet wide ... google it.. i have to go make dinner


    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 5:26PM
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I've attached an image. I'd like the hedge for the left (west) and top (north) side of my property. I have no back yard to speak of (maybe 10 feet between house and a line of cedar trees), so I want to create a little private space in the side/front yard. It doesn't have to be completely private, or else I would just put up a fence and be done with it. Hedges are prettier than fences, too.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:08AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Fast and thin and very hardy, but very, very expensive--Juniperus virginiana 'Taylor'. Gets some 20 feet tall but remains only 2 feet wide. The only nursery I've been able to find that carries it is Sooner Plant Farm in Oklahoma.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 6:47AM
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Also, I should mention, I don't mind having to trim a hedge twice a's just that I don't know what varieties take to trimming well. I'm likely to give whatever I have a "classic" boxy wall look, with square sides and flat on top.

(And thanks for the Juniperus virginiana 'Taylor' suggestion!)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:53AM
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What about English Boxwood? I understand it can be trimmed into about any shape. Any ideas what varieties would be best for lower Michigan and how fast they grow?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Boxwood grows about as fast as molasses flows - very slowly :-) You either have to buy big or be patient.

How tall a hedge are you looking for? Arborvitaes are quite often found at around 6' tall or so and at very reasonable prices at places like Lowe's or Home Depot. 6' is a pretty decent privacy screen right out of the box :-)

Is there any reason a deciduous hedge wouldn't work? Or a mixed part deciduous/part evergreen hedge? Mixed hedges, sometimes called tapestry hedges or hedgerows, are extremely attractive and easy to maintain. Usually minimal pruning required. First, no monoculture so if you lose one plant for whatever reason, easy to fill in with another. They can offer an extended season of interest with early or summer flowering and fall color, often can produce berries or fruit so of value to wildlife. And you can vary the plantings from sun to shade if that's the situation, or all sun or all shade. Not necessarily narrow in profile but if you have a lovely and colorful shrub border that is servicing also to provide privacy, maybe it's worth losing a bit of unnecessary lawn?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 4:41PM
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I would consider both: a fence and a row of evergreens. The fence would offer some quick privacy, especially if it is a solid wooden fence, and then a row of shrubs on the inside, the southeast-facing side of the fence (by your map), where they should still get plenty of sun. So, if some are slower-growing shrubs, the waiting should be easier to take.

Or you could consider a metal-mesh fence to support fast-growing vines. The vines, from clematis to passion vine to honeysuckle to ivy to Virginia creeper, could provide blossoms and attract birds, bees, butterflies ...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:43AM
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