Long Islanders like to create privacy walls of green on their properties. Whether it’s to screen an unwanted view, buffer wind or noise, or provide shade in the yard, hedges can accomplish all of this. So, are you pining for some privacy? The following are just a few suggestions for plants to use as evergreen screening. And we have them!
Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus
Eastern white pine, hardy and native to the eastern United States, has soft bluish-green evergreen needles in clusters of 5. Its mature height can be 50 to 80’, and width of 20 – 40’. Easy to grow in full sun with moist, well-drained soil. Eastern white pine can be used as a specimen in a large landscape area or as a hedge with regular shearing to maintain its shape and height.
Hollies Ilex species
Holly, formally known as Ilex, represents a large group of multi-purpose plants. Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) and its cultivars offer dense growing habits and shiny green leaves throughout the year. All are best grown in full to part sun locations that offer acidic, moist, yet well-drained soils. They are useful as low or high hedges, as well as foundation plantings. Other popular evergreen hollies include the traditional English holly, Ilex aquifolium, with its spiny, leathery green leaves. Like Japanese holly, it is best grown in full to part sun, and acidic, moist, well-drained soils. Other evergreen holly varieties that are suitable for screening can be found at Heritage. A few words about hollies: overgrown plants can be sheared back in early spring to rejuvenate with new growth. Avoid soils that are wet or slow to drain.
‘Schip’ Laurel Prunus laurocerasus ‘Schipkaensis’
‘Schip laurel’, as it is commonly called, has grown in popularity as a hardy screening plant thanks to its dense form and ability to grow in shade. Prized for their dark glossy green leaves, Schips can grow to 10-12’ tall by 4-6’ wide. For best growth, provide rich organic soil that is moist but well drained. Avoid soils that are slow to drain or frequently wet. Schips will produce flowers in late spring and blackish purple berries in early fall making it a great plant for attracting wildlife in the landscape.
Eastern Arborvitae Thuja occidentalis
Eastern arborvitae is a narrow growing evergreen, making it an ideal choice for landscapes that have limited room to work with. Their leaves are scale-like and rich emerald green in color. Arbs are best planted in full sun locations where the soil is moist, yet well drained. Adaptable, they can tolerate standing water, and higher pH and clay soils. Once established, this plant can become heat and drought tolerant. Another plus, they are considered low maintenance and cost friendly.
Western Arborvitae Thuja plicata
Although wider than the Eastern Arborvitae, Western ‘arbs’ are another great choice for limited spaces when used as a specimen or hedge. Pyramidal-shaped, this hardy evergreen tree can reach heights of 50+’ tall with widths of 10-25. (If needed, pruning can be done annually to control the width of western arborvitae.) The leaves are dark glossy green with a faint white streaking on the underside. Plant in full sun or partial shade where the soil is moist, yet well drained.