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Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Canton, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Hardy shrub for Canton, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have an 8' x 8' area between my front walk and driveway. I am interested in filling up the space (especially in height) with a shrub or tree. This area gets a lot of wind in the cold MI winter, so I need something hardy. I have tried a privet and Miss Kim's lilac so far, and both have died.


The main thing is to find a plant native to your area that is already adapted to your climate, rainfall and soil. That's what we do at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, recommend plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Those plants will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. For instance, Syringa vulgaris, common lilac, is hardy in Zones 3b to 7, and is shown on the USDA Plant Profile as growing in or near Wayne County. However, it is native to the Balkans, France and Turkey.  Privet, widely used for a hedge plant, is a Ligustrum, possibly Ligustrum vulgare, common privet. It is hardy from Zones 5 to 8, shown growing in or near Wayne County, but is native to Central Europe, North Africa, and Southwestern Asia. That is not to say that the only reason your previous plants died was their nativity, but they probably were simply not well adapted to the environment.

You did not specify if you wanted evergreen plants, if the sun exposure was sun or shade, what kind of soil you have or what height you were looking for, so we will go to our Native Plant Database, select some plants that we can ascertain live in or near Wayne County, MI.  You can follow the weblinks to pages on the individual plants and see if any of them suit your purposes.

Shrubs for Canton, MI

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft., blooms white, pink June to September, high water use, part shade or shade

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) - deciduous, conspicuous red twigs in winter, 6 to 12 ft tall, blooms white May and June, part shade

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) - deciduous to 3 ft tall, blooms yellow June to August, high water use, part shade or shade

Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper) - evergreen, 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms yellow, sun Pictures

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) - deciduous, 15 to 30 ft. tall, blooms  red, yellow, green June and July, low water use, sun, part shade or shade

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry) - deciduous, 3 to 10 ft. tall, blooms white, yellow,  green, brown April to July, high water use, sun, part shade or shade

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) -  evergreen, 30 to 40 ft. tall, blooms green, purple, brown March to May, low water use, sun, part shade or shade

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus sericea

Hypericum prolificum

Rhus typhina

Ilex verticillata

Juniperus virginiana





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