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

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Monday - October 11, 2010

From: Sag Harbor, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Hedge options for Sag Harbor, New York.
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse

QUESTION:

Hello, My fiance and I live in Sag Harbor, NY on the East End of Long Island. We would like to plant a hedge across our yard to separate the front and back and have privacy. Here is a picture of the house. We would like a 6-8ft high evergreen hedge to start near the white railings on the porch and go across the yard to our driveway. We were considering Leyland Cypress or even Cherry Laurel (but we found out the laurel has poisonous berrys for dogs) Please help! Jay and Flora

ANSWER:

There are many choices of evergreen shrubs native to your area. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some are better suited for hedging than others. We will work up a search using the recomended spiecies section of the web site. By choosing your state first, then adding further criteria of shrub, sub shrub and tree, you will see that the choices are numerous. From the lists generated you can click on each species to read about their characteristics. Check to make sure it is evergreen, check the size and growing conditions to make sure that it suits Sag Harbor New York. Make sure to check and see if any parts of the plants are poisonous

Something you might want to consider is creating a hedgerow. Hedgerows are a combination of species growing along a line merging together as they grow. This was a common practice for farms. They used these as field boundaries, windbreaks and means of keeping certain wildlife away from plants. For a homeowner a hedgerow allows for variety, privacy, and will actually attract wildlife. For hedgerows offer good nesting habitat and if some of the plants produce berries, food. If chosen and planted with care a hedgerow can reduce the maintenance needed from little to none. Compared to single species hedges which usually require pruning to keep the hedge the height and width you are looking for.

Having one plant for a hedge is a particular look and that might be what you are going for. If not consider the option of combining plants using trees as your base then adding shorter fluffier plants in front of the trees. This may also reduce your cost, as trees are typically more expensive than flowering shrubs.

Below are some species you might want to consider.

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf buckthorn)

Rosa palustris (Swamp rose)

Ribes aureum var. villosum (Golden currant)

 


Ilex opaca


Ribes aureum var. villosum


Rosa palustris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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