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Tuesday - April 05, 2011

From: Charleston, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Charleston, WV.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in zone 6 and an looking for an evergreen privacy type hedge that grows no taller than 10'-12'. I am not interested in any boxwood type of hedge. The evergreens would be planted on a hillside that receives sun for most of the day. What would you recommend? Thanks for the help.


"Privacy hedges" is a common topic of the questions that Mr. Smarty Plants receives, and he is going to take two approaches to help you solve your problem.

The first is to look at answers to previously answered questions. These may not fit your situation, but they include some plants that might you might consider for your location. Here's a couple about privacy hedges: #2926, and #3405.

Next, let's learn how to use our Native Plant Database. Click on the link, scroll down to the Recommended Species Lists Box. Clicking on the map will enlarge it so that you can click on West Virginia. This will give you a list of 122 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in West Virginia.

Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant, its growth requirements, and photos in most cases. All of the plants listed aren't suitable for hedges, so you need to go to the "Narrow Your Search Box" at the right side of the screen. Once there, make the following selections: select West Virginia under State, select Shrub under Habit, and select Perennial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement, and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Narrow your Search button and you will get a list of six plants. Unfortunately most of the flowering shrubs listed are deciduous, not evergreen.

A an evergreen plant on the list that is a consistent performer as a hedge is Wax myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle).

There are a couple of conifers that you might consider. One is  Eastern redcedar Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) This evergreen usually reaches a height of 30 - 40 ft. but can be pruned to form a hedge. There are dwarf varieties available that would make this easier. Contact UConn Plant Database or North Carolina State University.

Another conifer that can be used as a hedge is  Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae)Again, there are dwarf varieties available. Also see daytonnursery.com.

Morella cerifera

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis






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March 13, 2011 - We are looking to plant some privacy trees in back of our home. Since our neighbor is directly behind us but we don't want to plant something distasteful to our neighbor. Do you have a recommendation...
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March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
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A privacy hedge for a shady spot in Austin, TX
July 02, 2012 - What is a good choice for a privacy hedge in west Austin in a predominantly shady area? I'd like it to be 8-12 feet, along the fence, so as to obstruct the view of the neighbor's yard.
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