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Monday - October 13, 2008

From: Victoria, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for a barrier hedge
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Is there a native hedge I can plant to provide privacy? I have hostile neighbors behind me and would rather plant a hedge than put up a fence. I looked through the Virginia native species and didn't recognize any hedges. Thanks so much!


It's a shame that Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) probably wouldn't thrive in Virginia. A native of the desert Southwest, it is also called the "babysitter plant" because baby lambs could be encircled with it and not even the coyotes would come through it. But, of course, there is always the problem that something stickery on one side is stickery on the other side. 

We do want to caution you that, while we can probably suggest some plants that would grow pretty densely and make passage through them uncomfortable, they are not going to grow up overnight. It could easily be five years or more before you will have sufficient height to feel you are sheltered from activity on the other side. There will be expense and labor involved in purchasing and planting the shrubs, and you will need to get enough that they will begin to grow together in a not too unreasonable length of time. So, be sure and weigh those factors against the cost and labor of putting up a fence, which would give you quicker separation, if not quite as attractive. The plants we suggest will all be native to North America and to Virginia, because that is what the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about, plants that are already adapted to the area in which they are being grown, which means they will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Our selections are all evergreen, as we assume you want summer and winter privacy. They are not necessarily "hedge" plants, but will grow fairly quickly and densely. These plants are all commercially available, and if you want sources where you can purchase them, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants. 

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Morella cerifera

Rhododendron maximum

Ilex glabra

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana






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