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Friday - April 17, 2009

From: Coram, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York


Evergreen anything is something of a challenge in your USDA Hardiness Zone of 6a to 7b (-10 to +5 average annual minimum temperature). Finding something tolerant of no sun will be harder still. We are going to our Recommended Species Section, click on New York on the map, Narrow Your Search, and search first on shrubs and then on trees in Habit, with shade as the Light Requirement. We consider full sun to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, part shade 2 to 6 hours of sun, and shade less than 2 hours of sun. The only plant we found that comes close to your specifications is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), which we love because of the common name. Anyway, it is evergreen, is a spreading shrub growing only 1 to 3 feet tall, and can tolerate sun, part shade or shade. A couple of trees that are evergreen and can tolerate shade are Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), but it grows to 30 to 40 feet, and Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), which under cultivation grows to no more than 30 feet. If you were to plant trees that big, they would need to be some distance from the house, so the roots would not interfere with foundations or basements. Perhaps you will need to make a different plan for that area of your property. 

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis




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