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Thursday - June 16, 2011

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


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?


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:

Amelanchier arborea

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Cornus sericea

Ilex glabra

Ilex verticillata

Lindera benzoin


Rhus glabra

Symphoricarpos albus

Viburnum opulus var. americanum




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