Ideal hedge plant

Asked August 26, 2016, 8:52 PM EDT

Hi, we would like to grow a hedge of about 50ft long abut 3-4 ft tall and about 3 feet wide. We would like to plant this in our front yard in north Minneapolis. Some of the ideas is that the plant must be a perennial that we only have to trim/groom up to 3 times a years. The main objective of the hedge will be: privacy and noise reduction because we live next to a busy road. Original idea was the look and feel of a cyprus. We have small children and don't want to have too many hard branches poking out and hurting the kids. After we call 3 plant places they said Cyprus cannot be found on Minnesota and they recommended Jupiner or Arbovitae. I'm not 100% sold on the look and I was wondering what other options can you think of...? Full sun.

Hennepin County Minnesota

3 Responses

Some gardeners use junipers as informal or formal hedges. To get a look similar to cypress this may be a good option. Juniper ‘Gold Cone’ gets close to your height and width criteria getting 4' in height by 2' in width at maturity. This species has tiny, dense needles and is resistant to Juniper blight. Arborvitae also would get you a look similar to cypress. Arborvitaes have a dense, tidy growth and therefore make excellent informal hedges with minimal, if any, pruning. ‘Golden Globe’ (gold-yellow), ‘Hetz Midget’ (dark green) and Mr. Bowling Ball® (‘Bobazam’) (sage green) are dwarf globe arborvitae that get 3’x3’. If you wanted to get a little more height you could choose First Editions® Technito®, which is dark green, upright pyramidal and gets 6’ in height and 3’ in width at maturity. It makes a great hedge. I doubt if you have a problem with deer in the city, but if you do, the deer can be a big problem in the winter as they love (and damage) arborvitae.

There are some deciduous shrubs you could consider that make excellent informal or formal hedges. Honeysuckles make very good hedges, but the only one that comes close to meeting your height and width requirements is ‘Miniglobe’ which gets 5’ x 4’ at maturity. Lilacs also make great hedges. A variety that is close to your height and width requirements are those in the Fairytale® Lilac Series. They all get 5’ x 4’ at maturity, are upright rounded plants with green, heart-shaped foliage. Lilac ‘Prairie Petite’ gets 3’ x 3’ and has pink-lavender flowers. Peonies could be an option and there are many in your height/width criteria (you would need to go to a nursery and look at labels to find cultivars in the size you want). Ninebarks also make great hedges. First Editions® ‘Little Devil’ gets 4’x4’, has creamy white flowers in early summer and beautiful dark purple foliage. Spiraea are also often used as hedges. ‘Compacta’ gets 4’x4’, Birchleaf Spirea and ‘Tor’ get 3’x3’. There are many cultivars of Japanese Spiraea that meet your height/width requirement, so you would need to go to a nursery and look at labels and choose the flower color you like.

Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs!

Jenniffer, thank you very much for the giving us advise. You really took a lot of time and effort to craft your email and we really appreciate it. I have a fewmore question for you hopefully you can still help us. What local nurseries do your have experience with? What do you think about online nurseries outside the state? and what do you think about the Green Velvet Boxwood for a hedge in full sun Minnesota? also what do you think about the Burning Bush?

We found this place and I was wondering if you have an opinion about it?

I shop at local nurseries in Crow Wing County, where I live, and am unfamiliar with nurseries in your area. It is usually better to go to a local nursery and get locally grown plants that are specifically grown and acclimated for our climate. You can also see what you are getting and choose plants with a good growth pattern. Typically nurseries are putting their shrubs on sale at this time too!

Green Velvet boxwood fits the size you want and is an excellent variety for colder climates, but with that said its cold hardiness rating is -25 F. You may want to choose a shrub that is hardy to at least -30 F, just to be safe, especially since you are putting in quite an investment covering a 50' length. The smaller varieties of burning bush (that I know of) are also only hardy to -25 F.

Another option to consider that makes a very nice informal hedge is potentilla and they are rated to -50 F. There are many from which to choose, so you may want to go to a local nursery and check out labels to get the size and color you want. They have a long bloom time, and are a very tough shrub.