Hedge Help?

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by zenshack, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. zenshack

    zenshack Active Member

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    Vancouver, BC
    I want to plant an evergreen privacy hedge on the inside of a 50ft stretch of 6ft high fence. We live in a corner lot and the house sits higher than the fence so we want the hedge to grow at least 8ft or higher to keep prying eyes out.

    I had been seriously considering a Laurel hedge but after reading a few threads we definately do NOT want English Laurel. Are there other types of Laurel that are not as invasive? We like the look of the smaller leaf laurels we have seen, don't know the type (I am a gardening noob). Also we would prefer to keep the hedge to a thickness of 3-4 ft.

    We alreay have a row of emerald cedars along a different stretch of fence and don't want any more of those, so what do you suggest. Would be great if it was fast growing too.

    The area has good drainage so that is not an issue. The new hedge would start the first few years of it's life in mostly shade, being on the north side of a south facing fence. Once the hedge grows anything that grows taller than the fence will be in full sun.

    Thanks
     
  2. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    Good for you to have excluded English laurels. I think camellias thrive in the Vancouver climate--check the UBC gardens. Portlanders were remarkably reluctant to prune/shape them, but if you're willing to put some effort into hand-clipping, there's no reason why they can't make a handsome hedge.

    You might check local Japanese gardens about hedge plants. There's an astonishing variety of plants available.
     
  3. zenshack

    zenshack Active Member

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    Thanks for responding Dave-Florida.

    Don't compliment me on the "Just-Say-No to Laurel Campaign" yet. I am compiling a short list of possible hedge plants and Portuguese Laurel is still on it, barely.

    Is there much difference between English and Portuguese Laurel other than the size of leaves, ie how aggressive they grow, how thick the stumps get over time etc?

    If I plant Portuguese Laurel near my fence, will it eventually damage/ tip the fence if I don't prune that side back? What I mean is that some hedges (Like Cedar), stop growing near a fence because of the lack of sun. If you cut the fence down years later the cedar would have these large bare dead patches that never grow back. Would the P. Laurel do this or will it grow and grow behind the fence even without sun, pushing through the panels? (That might be the deal breaker right there).

    Is there a hedge/ shrub that has a similair look to Laurel but that is not as invasive? I thought I saw a hedge that looked similar but sprouted white flowers in the spring? What type of plant is this?

    Thanks
     
  4. Dave-Florida

    Dave-Florida Active Member

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    I was hoping that someone who knows the PNW hedge laurels better than I do would have provided suggestions by now. I think you're right that some plants will be discouraged by shade, and avoid growing into walls.

    Quite a lot of good evergreen hedge plants will thrive in Vancouver. If you can find a copy, "Hedges and Ground Cover for Your Garden" by Osamu Suzuki and Yoshio Aizeki (trans. by Jay Thomas), pub. by Graphic-sha, Tokyo 1997 has all sorts of hedge plants, some of them not to my liking (Photinia), a few just plain weird (a hedge of Agave americana and Yucca recurvifolia). Does anyone in the PNW use Osmanthus? It's a genus in the olive family whose evergreen leaves resemble holly leaves. The two Southeastern species are badly under-utilized in gardens.

    I suspect that one of Michael Dirr's books might be helpful, too.
     
  5. zenshack

    zenshack Active Member

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    I read on another thread someone suggesting Pacific Wax Myrtle as a good alternative to laurel.

    Maybe someone can help me with a few questions.

    Would PW Myrtle thrive here in Vancouver BC with our colder/ wetter/ darker climate than it's native California/ Oregon?

    Is it relatively fast growing and does it grow back full after aggressive pruning?

    Can it achieve a height over 8ft while keeping it to a width of around 3ft?

    And if planted close to a fence, once established and growing well would it threaten to damage the fence?

    Thanks
     
  6. maf

    maf Well-Known Member Maple Society

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    I don't know about Pacific Wax Myrtle, but I do know some other plants that might meet your requirements.

    Have you considered Yew, Taxus baccata, surely one of the best evergreen hedges? (Maybe you don't want another conifer of any type?) It grows well enough in the shade you get beside a fence, and if you ever remove the fence in years to come it will grow back on that side from the bare stems, unlike most conifers. It is considered slow growing, but if you get plants that have never had the main leader cut they can grow about a foot per year in height, iirc, and plants that have been previously trimmed usually grow up to 6 inches per year.

    If you have any concerns about the security of your garden, holly makes a good evergreen hedge. Privet is also a good hedging plant, much used in England, but in some countries it is considered invasive, and the pollen is reported to have a negative effect on asthma sufferers. Nice white flowers though.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.
     
  7. zenshack

    zenshack Active Member

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    The Pacific Wax Myrtle is apparently hard to find in Vancouver. it is not an oft requested species and there are questions about it's hardiness. Still trying to find out more about this.

    I would love if someone could help me with my earlier question...

    If I plant Portuguese Laurel within a few feet of my fence will it eventually cause damage to the fence? My plan is to keep it pruned to 4' wide and 8/9' tall, but of course once it has grown that big it will be hard if not impossible to get between the fence and the hedge to prune that side.

    Thanks
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Camellia japonica forms a nice hedge, more interesting than usual - until the spent flowers produce a mess quite unlike anything else I can think of in this region. And some of them stick to the shrubs, where they remain shriveled and brown, for years unless picked off. Camellia x williamsii does not retain the spent flowers much, might develop a little more rapidly. And its more familiar cultivars have a tendency toward comparatively upright and narrow growth. But it usually comes in some shade of candy pink, and it is still a camellia - you will not see screening density at eye level for many years.

    Portugal laurel is also a weed species in this region, and like English laurel produces a huge bulging bush or small tree in time unless kept sheared in perpetuity.

    The wax myrtle can be sheared and survive it, I see some globes and other architectural shapes made from this species here - where it is frequently offered in nurseries. It has nice leaves and grows up fairly fast, tends to be upright in habit unless sculpted by coastal winds or pruning.

    Since it is not hard to find here, in season, I am inclined to expect it is available there also - although I see the Plant Finder feature of the BCNLA web site does not list it (but does give wholesale sources for M. gale and M. pensylvanica).

    If, in fact, nobody is retailing it up there that is a curious thing.
     
  9. Emilio

    Emilio Member

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    I think lot of other plants like Portuguese Laurel might cause damage to the fence. Keeping about 9' tall might help in maintaining it. It's hard to find a solution for anything.
     
  10. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Beaverton, Oregon
    One shrub I like the foliage of, is Mexican orange.

    Its not that commonly planted here, but I have seen quite a few nice ones.
     
  11. Barbara Lloyd

    Barbara Lloyd Well-Known Member

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    I agree with M D Vaden - Mexican Mock Orange (Choisya) grows well in the PNW. Can be hedged, produces dark green foliage, pretty flowers that smell great and doesn't invade everything else. Several varieties seem to be available.

    The yew tree would be another good choice. They hedge well (as most conifers do not) and can be kept within the dimensions you set. Plus you get these tiny coral colored berry like things on them. I don't care for any of the laurels and for heavens sake don't use photinia. It is another big leafed, floppy looking plant that reminds me of laurel. :)) barb
     

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