“I recently moved into a new house, and my neighbors aren't exactly what I dreamed of…What do you have in the way of quite fast growing shrubs for privacy?”
This is a common question year 'round. Privacy is important! One important thing to consider is that the faster something grows, the more you'll have to manage it. This means sometimes pruning 3 times a year! If you choose something that may take a little longer to fill in, it will require less work in the long term.
Print out this handy guide for selecting hedge plants: Hedges and Screens.
Spacing: Plants could be placed close enough to fill in a single season, but this may lead to problems down the road from overcrowding. We recommend leaving a minimum of 2 feet between plants. If the plant grows 1 foot per year, space plants four feet apart.
Timing: The best time to plant hedge material is in spring for evergreens and fall for deciduous plants. A healthy hedge will take 2 - 3 years to fill in before you get a dense screen. Bamboo will be the same if clumps are planted 5’ apart.
Planting: We encourage planting in the cooler part of the day to alleviate st ress on the plants (and the planter). When planting a hedges, amend the soil with 1/3 compost to 2/3 soil. Dig your holes twice as wide as the container and a little deeper. Make sure the sides of the holes are not smooth like the inside of a pot. Tho roughly water the plants after planting.
Maintenance: Regular water is the primary element of a healthy hedge. We recommend watering slowly for an hour once a week. This is essential for the first and second years while the plants are getting settled. As the plants mature, infrequent, but deep watering in the hottest parts of the year are all that may be needed Fertilizing three times a year can create a screen faster. See the Information Desk for fertilizing and pruning details.
Upright, narrow, low-maintenance. Prune for height but rarely width.
Problems: mites and breakage.
Commonly used for low fence-like hedges, but can grow large over time. Slow growing. Prune once a year for shape.
Problems: smelly flowers, mites.
Very fast growing shrub or tree, makes a dense screen. Prune two to three times a year!
Problems: high maintenance, on the city's nuisance plant list.
Evergreen leaves can be green or a mix of green and gold or white. Moderate growth rate, prune once a year.
Problems: powdery mildew.
Upright oval shape. Moderate growth rate. Prune once a year.
Fat and soft green needles form a dense screen. Some Yews grow upright and narrow, others low and wide. Takes pruning very well and likes sun or shade. Moderate growth, prune once a year.
Evergreen grass-family of plants com in running or clumping forms. Running types must be contained, but fill in quickly. Clumping types grow slowly and are shrubbier. Prune once a year.
Problems: mites and containing running types is work!
Hedges that you can eat!.
Blueberries come in evergreen and deciduous types and grow between 2 and 6 foot tall. Prune once a year, if at all.
Problems: keeping birds from eating all the fruit!
Green or gold evergreen leaves, white scented flowers. Grows 3' to 6'.
Nice choice for shade.
Columnar Apple Trees grow only 12' tall and 2' wide. See our article on Espaliered Fruit Trees.
'Gracilis' or 'Well's Special'. Upright slender conifers with fan-like leaves. Grows to 25' x 6'.
Culinary hedges! Lavender flowers, 3-4' tall, smells delicious.
Many viburnum options will work. This one is Viburnum davidii: evergreen, white flowers, blue berries, 4' x 5- 6'. See our article on Viburnum.
Read up on some of our favorite shrubs and remember, this is only a smattering of the variety of shrubs we carry all year long! Note: Viewing a Native Plant will take you into our Native Plant section.