Evergreen plants for fence

Asked May 25, 2015, 2:49 PM EDT

I need advice for fast-growing evergreen plants planted for a privacy fence. The space between properties is narrow (<15 ft), I found Sky Pencil or Thuja (emerald arborvitae?) would be most suitable (3 ft wide and 10 to 15 ft tall) or Japanese holly. However, on the property boundary, it is graded for rainwater runoff. The boundary has half day sun and zoned 7. Will this area be too wet for these plants? What other plants will be more suitable for this area and serve as a fast-growing green fence? Is anything I can do to the soil to remedy the situation? How can I tell if the soil is too wet for plants?

Delaware County Pennsylvania

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I need advice for fast-growing evergreen plants planted for a privacy fence. The space between properties is narrow (<15 ft), I found Sky Pencil or Thuja (emerald arborvitae?) would be most suitable (3 ft wide and 10 to 15 ft tall) or Japanese holly. However, on the property boundary, it is graded for rainwater runoff. The boundary has half day sun and zoned 7. Will this area be too wet for these plants? What other plants will be more suitable for this area and serve as a fast-growing green fence? Is anything I can do to the soil to remedy the situation? How can I tell if the soil is too wet for plants?

The first thing to do is a soil test. You can get a test kit at your local Penn State Extension. Trees grow well on slopes in Pennsylvania. Penn State publishes a fact sheet called Using Trees and Shrubs for Privacy. The fact sheet lists trees and shrubs as well as ideas on how to plant them to your advantage.

One thing to remember is that fast-growing trees also die earlier, so you may want to mix some fast and some slow growers to extend the years of useful life of your privacy screen. Pay close attention to the ultimate width as well as height of your trees. Many evergreens are pyramidal with very wide bottoms. Once you select your trees, find out what pests and pathogens attack that species. You can use one of the many "plant finders" available at botanical gardens such as the Missouri Botanical Garden plant finder.