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Help planning yard border - maybe espalier?

My wife and I are looking for a privacy-enhancing garden feature for the side of our yard and could use some help identifying a plant or plants that would serve. Save me from putting in Arborvitaes (which probably wouldn't fit anyway)

The setting: There's about a thirty-foot stretch we'd be working with that has a four-foot cedar fence next to a concrete driveway. There's only about a foot of grass between the driveway and fence. It gets a few hours of sun a day, but is mostly in the shade of mature oak and walnut trees on the other side of the fence.

Our wishlist:
- Obviously something that would work in this very thin space.
- Something that would grow quickly and block our views of the neighbor's trash-strewn back yard.
- Ideally something native to NJ
- Ideally something that is evergreen.

I was thinking of putting in some posts in the thin strip of grass and running wires between them for an espalier situation. Any good native, evergreen plants that would grow on something like that? I'd prefer something more naturalistic to a hyper-geometric design.

Sorry for the long, very specific post from a newbie, but I'm having a hard time finding something that would fit our needs.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Have you thought about vines? There are some nataive evergreen or semi-evergreen vines, and some non-native evergreen vines. They provide better coverage/ screening than an espaliered tree and fit in the skinny space well.

Choices include carolina jessamin, winter jasmine, virginia creeper, cross vine (some what better behaved relative of trumpet creeper), native honeysuckle vine (lonicera sempervirens), five leaf akebia, and of course English ivy. The qualities that make most of us hate English ivy, might make it useful for you - it is very dense, so smothers out other plants when growing as ground cover and it spreads rapidly. You would still have to pay attention to keeping it in check. These choices assume you are in zone 6. If you happen to actually be in zone 7, there are several more choices.

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