I'd like to grow a thick hedge in front of my house in the Twin Cities. The house does not have gutters and the roof will drain directly onto the hedge, and ice storms have sometimes coated all plants along that line. Can you recommend an attractive and durable plant for this purpose?
Thank you for the question. Without knowing more about the sun exposure, soil drainage, hedge height and width requirements, we are limited in our ability to give you advice except for to say that no hedge plant will do well and remain attractive when physically pounded by rain during warm weather and suffering ice coating during the winter.
If guttering the house isn't an option and you have enough room, try planting outside of the roof drip line. Remember that water running off roofs may supply plants in the immediate vicinity with several hundred inches of rainfall every year instead of the usual 50 to 60 inches, so anything you plant should love a wet, moist location.
Here are two websites that discuss tough trees and shrubs for difficult locations. It might be that if you alter the run-off or have room to plant outside of the drip line, you may find an option to fit your needs.
The house faces northeast and the soil is very sandy. I'd like a hedge about 3 feet tall. I would most likely plant outside of the drip line rather than put up gutters. There is only one tree in front, and it's off to one side so I think it does not shade the area.
Here is a list of options both deciduous and evergreen: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/best-plants-for-tough-sites/docs/08464-s...