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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - July 18, 2011

From: Whitehall, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Evergreen for privacy in PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We need to plant a privacy/sound barrier hedge/hedgerow and my husband says it must be evergreen. I am not familiar with which species would be native to our area and I just don't trust those big stores to steer me correctly. We live in Whitehall, PA and the area in question gets good solid light year round. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

ANSWER:

We CAN help, by teaching you how to use our Native Plant Database to learn about what evergreens are native to your area.

Do a Combination Search for PA and select the plant type you are interested in (trees or large shrubs), your conditions (you say plenty of light but don't mention whether the soil is moist, wet or dry) and evergreen leaf retention.  The database will generate a list of plants that fit those criteria that are native to PA.  Each plant on the list is linked to a detailed information page with images. Play with the Narrow your Search function to see the lists change accordingly.

Ultimately, you will be restricted in your choices by what is available in your local nurseries (and some of those big box stores do make an effort to carry plant material that is not only native but local), but you can make your list and then go shopping. You can also look up the plants the nurseries recommend for more information.

Here are a few that would be suitable from lists I created choosing sun/part shade and not narrowing the search for moisture condtions.

Larger shrubs

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel)

Trees (these can get big)

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)

Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) (this may be semi-evergreen depending on what cultivar you choose)

 

From the Image Gallery


Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Atlantic white cedar
Chamaecyparis thyoides

American holly
Ilex opaca

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Sweetbay
Magnolia virginiana

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