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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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Friday - May 27, 2011

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: A nice-looking, fast-growing privacy hedge for Oregon
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Would you please suggest a fast growing option to create a privacy hedge? I need to get my husband off the boxwoods he is touting.. The ideal solution would grow to 8 feet high, look interesting all year round, and produce nuts or fruit that distract the birds from the cherry, quince and fig trees growing along that side of the yard. Many thanks!

ANSWER:

It is hard to find the perfect plant for your requirements, mainly because the beautiful ones which come to mind are generally rather slow-growing.  I might suggest Thuja plicata (Western arborvitae), also called Western Red Cedar (see attached photo of hedged plants).  This evergreen grows moderately fast and is sometimes trimmed and used as a privacy hedge.  If left alone it grows into a tall tree.  Another possibility is Alnus rhombifolia (White alder) (see attached photo).  This is a fast growing tree but is deciduous.  You might consider planting white alders and , behind or among them, slower-growing species such as Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry) (see description by Washington Native Plant Society) or Morella californica (California wax myrtle) (see attached photographs).  When the alders grow too tall cut them down and the evergreen species will be large enough to give you privacy plus some food for your birds.  Or plant among them Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) for showy spring blossoms.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pacific rhododendron
Rhododendron macrophyllum

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