Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - December 07, 2009

From: Darien, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs for playground barrier hedge in Darien CT
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am working on my Eagle Scout project which is a barrier hedge in front of a playground at our town's baseball field to protect the kids from getting hit by balls. The fence would be 4 feet tall and needs to be pretty dense. It is in direct sun and good soil. Any info on what plants would be a good choice would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

That is an excellent choice for an Eagle Scout project, and we congratulate you. As you may know, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses on the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. We do this because native plants will require less water, fertilization and maintenance, as well as continue to provide sustenance and shelter to native birds and butterflies. We are assuming you would like to have an evergreen plant, if some can be found that will do well in your area, in order for the protection to be year-round.The evergreen part can present some difficulties, as you are in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b, which means you can have average annual minimum temperatures of -5 to 0 deg. F. Another problem is the height; most evergreen shrubs are going to get taller than that, and require continual pruning to keep them at that height. And our favorite evergreen shrub for the Northeast, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), with glossy evergreen leaves and red fruit, seldom gets over 1 ft. tall, and is considered a trailing ground cover, not suitable for your purposes. Follow each link to the page on that plant to see what light requirements it has, water use, expected height, etc. If you decide you could use a deciduous shrub; that is, not evergreen, you can go back to our Native Plant Database, search on Connecticut and "shrub" under General Appearance, and make your own selection. 

Barrier hedge shrubs for Darien, CT:

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex laevigata (smooth winterberry) - pictures

Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper)

Morella pensylvanica (northern bayberry) - pictures

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

More Shrubs Questions

Are Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels native to the Texas/Mexico Border?
July 05, 2012 - I'm trying to determine whether Rhododendrons, azaleas and mountain laurel grow around the Texas/Mexican border. Are they native to this region?
view the full question and answer

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

No berries on dogwoods in GA
November 18, 2010 - I have 4 native dogwood trees. I have owned the property for 4 years. They have never produced berries. Can you tell me why? are the trees male and female, and could I have all males?
view the full question and answer

Low growing native shrubs to go next to a rock pool deck
July 29, 2004 - I have a pool surrounded by a rock deck, & want to plant some low-growing shrubs next to the deck. However, I want to ensure the root system of the plant isn't invasive enough to crack the rock deck ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.