The benefits of a good privacy hedge are hard to ignore. These attractive additions to your home’s landscaping can take a couple of years to grow in, but once established are difficult to match. With all the choices available it can be difficult to choose the kind of shrubs you’d like for your hedge. The first step is to decide what function you want the hedge to perform. A privacy hedge must be formed from a shrub that both grows tall and has dense foliage. Determining factors for a privacy hedge are generally the speed of growth, ease of maintenance, and hardiness in cold and heat.
One of the most popular hedges is the Canadian hemlock. This can grow either as individual trees or a luxuriously dense, evergreen hedge that takes well to trimming. The Canadian hemlock grows quickly and can reach over 40 feet, if desired. Hemlocks are very hardy and do well in extremes as low as -30F, making them an excellent choice for northern climates.
Lilac bushes of all varieties are top choices for privacy hedges. These attractive bushes grow tall, and throughout the warm months are covered in compact bunches of fragrant flowers. The most common variety boasts light purple blossoms, though there are many varieties on the market with many different colors and shades. These bushes require little trimming, though they do not lend themselves to compact, orderly hedges.
Caragana, also known as Siberian peabushes, are exceptionally easy to grow and can live just about anywhere. This is a popular shrub for its thick foliage and yellow flowers. These shrubs grow in zones 2-7 and are nearly impossible to kill once established. However, care should be taken when planting this shrub as it does spread easily and sheds its seeds up to several feet from the parent plant. Some states, including Alaska, have classified this as an invasive species and have made it illegal to plant Siberian peabushes.
While many shrubs work well for privacy hedges, be certain that whatever type you choose fits your space and maintenance requirements. Some make excellent shaped and groomed hedges, while others will not tolerate vigorous pruning. Thoroughly researching your choice of hedge will ensure that you are happy with your privacy hedge for many years to come.