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extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

Posted by arylkin 5b, south of Chicago (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 22, 14 at 22:10

I have a ravine behind my house. We moved in last year, and built a fence right away- it's a really steep drop down so we built a fence as soon as we moved in (I have a three year old). Behind us is a high school, and the ground on the other side of the ravine is much higher than our side, to the point that above our fence, we can see people walking their dogs all day long. We have picture windows all along that side of the house, and I wish we could block the view of the school. In the summer when it's leafed out it's not bad, but in the winter and spring it's terrible.

I want to plant a hedge along the back of my house. At first I was thinking something evergreen, but I thought it would stick out since my neighbors have only deciduous shrubs and trees along the back, which we can see from our yard and windows.

The only trouble is that I need something drought tolerant. I know new shrubs will need to be watered, but I can't walk across the ravine since it's too steep, so I have to walk like a quarter mile to get to the other side to water where I want to plant them. Is there anything that will not really need to be watered much in the summer? We get a good amount of rain in the spring, but it gets hot and dry in the summer. To water them I'd need to pack watering cans in my wagon and walk it a quarter mile down to where the shrubs are going to be.

I'd like something that's around 10 feet high, but could be up to around 20 feet. I was looking at golden privet or maybe forsythia. I'm open to anything since I don't know much about shrubs. It'll be in full sun.

I really want to block out this view (and the horrible people that are always walking by looking down into our yard).

Any ideas? Thank you so much in advance!

Here are some pictures:

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Follow-Up Postings:

RE: extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

Is it the fence you want to screen or the distant buildings? If the latter wouldn't small trees do the job better than a hedge given the height you'd need? 10 ft wouldn't block the buildings, would it? Or stop people looking down on you? You could test that by putting a ten foot pole in your garden then going round the other side to see how high it appears from there.

If you just don't want to look at the fence then how about vines on it? You could extend the height of the fence with another couple of feet of trellis too. A hedge would take up quite a bit of your land, especially if you left a path behind for fence and hedge maintenance. It can also be hard to grow other plants in front of a hedge because it uses up available water and nutrients.

RE: extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

i would attack this on many different fronts ...

i would put a trellis like structure.. right there on the decking.. and grow vining plants in mother earth ... and put the screening close in ... annual: morning glory ... perennial: clematis ...

while at the same time... growing something out near the fence ...

and the yard.. being rather shallow.. i would go for some type of tree.. that can be limbed up over the fence... over the years ....

even a deciduous tree.. will give you the site blocking

and i hope you understand.. nothing is drought tolerant .. until at least the second year after transplant ...

i would also.. in the interim ... use those plastic window decals ... to cut the view.. deep into the house ...

and i would not be planting in a drainage ditch.. nor on the public property beyond ....


Here is a link that might be useful: i have the wisteria one.. it doesnt have to cover the whole window.. mine is centered to block most of the view.. but not so wide.. that i can walk up.. and look out the sides ... they attach with warm soapy water..

RE: extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

  • Posted by arylkin 5b, south of Chicago (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 9:15

I am planning on planting shrubs or trees (or something!) on the land at the edge of the school property. I know I run a risk that they may cut it down, though I'm willing to chance it. I also think it's somewhat unlikely since most of the neighbors along the back of the school have significantly more in the way of screening trees and shrubs on the school property.

Thanks for the idea of planting some deciduous trees in our yard- I'll have to see if I can convince my husband. We have a small yard and he's reluctant to give up any play space for our daughter.

Maybe a couple trees would be better to plant on the school land instead of a hedge? Planted in the barest of spots? That would be less to water than a whole hedge, so even lugging a few water cans around to the school every week to water them may be enough.

I wish there were a way to plant trees in the actual ravine. There are already quite a few growing there, though everything I've read says you can't plant on a slope that steep (still, the trees growing there seem happy).

RE: extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

whatever you read about planting on hills.. was written by a bunch of idiots ... the guy at the link did a brilliant job explaining how to plant on a hill.. i wish i could meet him.. and shake his hand ...

see link ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

RE: extremely drought tolerant, deciduous hedge for a screen

  • Posted by arylkin 5b, south of Chicago (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 22:36

Thanks Ken!

After a bunch of reading on GW, I'm leaning towards planting 2 or 3 Norway Spruces.

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