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Hedges

Paul Epsom overviews five great choices to suit a variety of hedging needs.

Ligustrum x vicaryi

Ligustrum x vicaryi

golden vicary privet

A slightly different variety of the common privet hedge, the golden vicary stays very compact. As the name suggests, its foliage has a golden hue. The plant's flowers are mildly fragrant and it produces fruit late in the season. Bear in mind though that the privet is a deciduous plant, so it will lose its leaves come winter.

Thuja occidentalis

Thuja occidentalis

'Emerald Green'
arborvitae

The arborvitae is popular as a nice soft hedge plant. This Dutch cultivar, 'Emerald Green,' has the additional appeal of keeping its green color throughout the winter, whereas many varieties tend to go brown. One thing to look out for though is that the arborvitae often doesn't form one central leader branch, which can cause it to break open and look ugly under heavy snow. But you can trim its central branches to create a leader and help the shrub maintain its shape.

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

emerald sentinel juniper

An excellent choice for a taller hedge, the emerald sentinel juniper also keeps its wonderful green color through the winter, and grows to a height of between 15 and 20 feet. It is a great shrub for wildlife, especially birds' nests, and recently won a gold medal award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Physocarpus

Physocarpus

'Diablo'

The primary draw of this plant is the deep rich color of its leaves, ranging between dark red and nearly black. We think it's great as a contrast plant in combination with other shrub foliage — the golden vicary privet would be a good match, for instance. The shrub grows to a maximum 10x10-foot size and can be hedged if desired.

Salix integra

Salix integra

'Hakuro Nishiki'
willow

But then if you've had enough of trimming hedges, this dappled willow is a lovely alternative with beautiful light green variegated foliage. Instead of hedging this plant, Paul suggests you coppice it once every two or three years, which means cutting it right down to the base. Following this, the plant will soon shoot up new growth, which tends to be brighter in color than the previous foliage. As a hedge, the shrub itself is softer and more open — a good choice when you want light and attractive textured foliage without so dense a screen as more traditional hedges provide.



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This segment appears in show #2711.

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Published August 31, 2007