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Shrubs for shade/slope/screening?

Posted by Arrietti 6 MA/Greater Boston (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 9:38

My home is built on a slope and my back 'yard' is pretty unused at the moment. Since moving in I have started envisioning a layout. Part of that is the area joining my neighbor's lot where I am looking for some taller shrubs (3 or 4) to make some privacy. Looking for good suggestions/experiences!

- The area is in shade most of the summer. We unfortunately have lots of Norway maples growing everywhere and their foliage covers everything by the end of spring. The specific area I'm thinking of is between 2 Norway maples.

- I would like the shrubs to be able to grow tall, say 5' to 8', so that they have a screening function. The neighbor's house is further up the slope so even if I build a physical fence I won't achieve much.

- The slope in this area is about 1:7 and so far I've only seen hostas thrive in this area.

I looked around online to see what suggestions are out there, and I found an article that suggests:
- Snowball bushes
- Camelia
- Fuchsia (not my favorite)
- Hydrangeas (I have lots of those in the front but never seen them in the shade)
.. so I was wondering if anyone had good experiences with those or has better recommendations. They don't have to be flowering, e.g. a shade equivalent of a Japanese holly would be great too.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Shrubs for shade/slope/screening?

It is not easy to determine from your post exactly how much shade you are working with but a good many shrubs will grow quite happily in partial shade including all those you mention (most hydrangeas are really 'shade' plants and Japanese holly can grow well in nearly full shade). A visit to a local garden center should broaden that selection significantly, based on what they stock for your area.

FWIW, your limiting factor may not be the slope or the shade but rather the proximity to the maples. Planting within the primary root zone (under the dripline) of an established maple is problematic at best. Start small and provide some TLC to get things established rapidly (starter fertilizer, terrace the plantng holes, plenty of water).

Plants that can tolerate considerable shade and are relatively drought tolerant when established include aucuba, English laurel, yews (Taxus species). These are all evergreen as well, providing a more ideal screening function. You could also look at the Japanese holly or boxwood, even evergreen euonymus, although these may be much slower growing and less effective at screening in th short term..

RE: Shrubs for shade/slope/screening?

Norway maple is quite possibly the worst tree species for growing under. Norway maples are alleopathic, their roots extend well beyond the drip line, are incredibly aggressive and the tree's dense canopy sheds rain like an umbrella. Before investing any money in plantings, really consider having some of the maples removed. Expensive for surre, but definitely worth it in the long run.

RE: Shrubs for shade/slope/screening?

Thanks for your responses!
I do know about the evil Norway maple but unfortunately most of them that affect my garden are my neighbors. I am also guessing they were planted to prevent erosion when they built on this sloped site.

Thanks for the tips!

As for now I have to keep up with dividing my flowers as they haven't been divided for many years it seems!

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