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

Thursday - June 16, 2011

From: Rochester, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs for a fenceline in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Need to replace shrubs along a fence. Currently have Honeysuckle and they are very old. Would like to have something different with more color & interest during winter months. The line of shrubs are half in sunshine, half in shade. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

On first glance at your question, my reaction was, "oh boy, there are so many great shrubs to recommend" but then I saw "color and interest during winter months". 

You do know that you live in Rochester so your color choices are limited to white, grey and brown during the winter months?

Actually, they are not.  There are a number of plants that are interesting to look at and provide wildlife benefits during the winter months such as:

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry) which as you can see from the photos, blooms in late winter

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) this is a short evergreen groundcover with red berries that persist into winter.  It is very festive looking until it gets covered with snow!

Cornus sericea (Redosier dogwood) whose conspicuous red twigs look great against a background of snow or tan grasses.  It also has great fall color and produces flowers that attract butterflies and berries that attract birds

Ilex glabra (Inkberry) this is a broadleaved evergreen that will retain its shiny dark green foliage through winter and provide cover for winter birds, who enjoy the dark blue/black berries that give the plant its common name

Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry) this plant can be a winter show-stopper with its bright red berries, attached singly along arching branches persisting well into winter

Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush) although this plant doesn't "look like much" during the summer, its fragrant pale yellow flowers break the monotony of late winter. It is also an important butterfly larval food source.

Mahonia aquifolium (Holly-leaf oregon-grape) also has yellow flowers in late winter.  It's disctinctive glossy everygreen foliage turns maroon during the cold months.

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac) the distinctive fuzzy red fruit produced by this plant persist through winter and are useful in dried seasonal arrangements.  The incredible fall color and intricate foliage provide textural interest in a hedgerow

Symphoricarpos albus (Common snowberry) whose white berries persist after the foliage drops are quite noticeable until they are camouflaged by a background of snow

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberry bush) the clusters of red berries (images)on this plant are very noticeable and sometimes last all winter before the birds consume them all.  It also has attractive flowers and great fall color

So, you can replace your scraggly old overgrown honeysuckle hedge with a mixed hedgerow that will delight you year round and provide enough interest in your winter garden to keep you from dreaming of a tropical vacation!

Here are some photos from our Image Gallery:

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

Plant for part sun in Nampa Idaho
May 20, 2010 - What could I plant in arid SW Idaho on the northwest side of my house along a border against the house? Most of the day this area is in shade, but at the hottest time of the day it gets a couple of h...
view the full question and answer

Blueberry bushes failing to leaf out in Haines Falls, NY
June 25, 2009 - Blueberry bushes planted in spring in upstate New York; no leaves, only the stem. How do we know if they are alive? Blueberries do very well in that area known as Haines Falls, New York (mountain a...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of growing oak-leaf hydrangea in Comal County, TX
January 08, 2005 - In the last issue of the magazine, there was an item about the oak leaf hydrangea which stated the plant's habitat is east of the Mississippi River. Can it be grown in Comal County? Any special nee...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing privacy shrub for Northern California home
January 22, 2014 - We have purchased a home in Anderson CA. We want a privacy shrub along the roadside of our home to reduce noise. 60'x 25' of full sun with rocky soil and many Oak trees.We want something that will ...
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.