En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
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:


Amelanchier arborea


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Cornus sericea


Ilex glabra


Ilex verticillata


Lindera benzoin

 


Rhus glabra


Symphoricarpos albus


Viburnum opulus var. americanum

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Mountain Laurel not growing in Hallettesville, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Mountain laurel has been planted over 2 years. Well drained,sandy soil, full sun. They have not grown or set blooms despite occasional all purpose fertilizers. What is wrong?
view the full question and answer

Twenty year old Texas Mountain Laurel isn't blooming.
March 09, 2015 - I have 20-year-old Texas Mountain Laurel in a fairly poor, clay-type soil. It hasn't bloomed very well the last couple years. Can you recommend a fertilizer to improve the blooms?
view the full question and answer

Further information on soil pH for growing blueberries
December 31, 2008 - Thank you for your reponse to my question / comment. You were exactly right about soil pH. Here is what Clemson University Extension has to say about growing blueberries in North and South Carolina....
view the full question and answer

Planting shrubs on a rocky slope
September 13, 2008 - I need to plant a rocky slope, facing south and west, to cut down erosion. Other than creating terraces, are there tricks for securing individual shrubs or trees to a slope when planting? What plant...
view the full question and answer

Poolside plants for East Texas
June 18, 2015 - What are the best plants, shrubs, ornamental trees, etc. for poolside planting in East Texas?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center