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Tuesday - October 12, 2010

From: Hampton, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Large shrubs for privacy screen in VA
Answered by: Anne Bossart


Tonight my husband and I took down two large shrubs about 15' tall and spread across our yard to provide mostly privacy from the road and traffic noise. My question is this, since it's the front of the house, I need privacy, and a nice looking shrub that has height and would provide other gifts like flowers and of course the privacy. I think looking around tonight it might be the leatherleaf viburnums. I know it will take a while to get what I need, the height, and color, plus of course hide the road, but for now, I was thinking a trellis, or maybe even from the corner of the house to the middle of the yard some sort of privacy fence. I have looked at many pictures and know now that tree should have never come down. The previous homeowner had this yard professionally landscaped, and that tree fit was perfect, but it was old, had grown out of control, and was becoming an eyesore. What do you suggest I do for the privacy now?


Oh dear ... I know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at the place where the tree was!

By now you are used to not seeing the trees and have started to look at the bright side of the situation and the opportunity for a new planting.  You didn't indicate what type of plant it was that you removed nor the conditions (sun/shade, dry/moist or whether the plants are subjected to road salt when you have snow), so you may want tp consult a local nursery for suggestions.

I understand why you are thinking about the leatherleaf viburnum (large, evergreen) but it is not a plant that is native to Virginia (or North America for that matter).  To find a list of plants native to Virginia, visit our Native Plant database and do a Combination Search for Virginia selecting shrubs that will grow to 6-12 feet and then trees in a similar size range. The lists provide links to detailed information pages for each plant.  Your choices will be limited if you have your heart set on an evergreen but you will find a number of interesting and attractive native plants that usually offer a wildlife benefit (nectar for butterflies and bees or berries for birds).

I like your idea of erecting a trellis along part or all of the area to be screened.  Even a fairly open trellis will block the view enough from the road to give you a sense of privacy and it will give you an opportunity to plant vines (annual and perennial).  You can search vines the same way and will find 75 to choose from that are native to Virginia.

Here are a few plants I have selected from those lists.  Once you see them all, you'll be getting out your chainsaw to make room for more!

Large Shrubs

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay)

Stewartia malacodendron (Silky camellia)

Small Multi-stemmed Trees

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny service-berry)

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)

Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay)

Osmanthus americanus (Devilwood)

Styrax americanus (American snowbell)


Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper)

Clematis virginiana (Devil's darning needles)

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria)

Ilex decidua

Ilex glabra

Morella cerifera

Rhododendron catawbiense

Stewartia malacodendron

Amelanchier laevis

Hamamelis virginiana

Hamamelis virginiana

Magnolia virginiana

Osmanthus americanus

Styrax americanus

Bignonia capreolata

Campsis radicans

Clematis virginiana

Wisteria frutescens








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