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Location: Minneapolis

advice for what type of hedge is good for living fence in MN

I was interested in making a privacy fence for my house out of hedges or bushes in Minnesota and as a novice I don't really know where to start. If anybody has any suggestions - I would like it to be less than 6 feet tall, hopefully not something that needs tons of attention in pruning, and something that can withstand a harsh winter.


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Welcome to the forum! :)

What is the light like where your hedge will be? Is it all full sun, or is some of it part or full shade? That will make a big difference in the types of plants that will work for your project.
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

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Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:57 pm
Location: Minneapolis

partially shady, here's a rough diagram, this is inverted so south on top and north on bottom, east to the left, west to the right:

house------------- my house
[ ] ----------------- [ ]
x-------------------- x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx<-----hedges along the front yard connecting houses

it's around 35 feet between the houses, and 10 feet in front of the house (north) just before the sidewalk, so the sun will be behind the house, low in the winter months, but more direct in the summer


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Does it have to be evergreen? When I think privacy hedge, I think evergreen, but there might be other options.

For evergreens in your size range is the American yew (aka Canada yew), Japanese yew, some junipers, mugo pine, globe arborvitae, false cypress.

Rhododendrons are also evergreen and don't need full sun and have the added bonus of beautiful flowers in the spring. Most of them are not winter hardy where you are but the PJM Rhododendron has been specially bred for hardiness, and should flower as far north as zone 3b (but you could be in 3a, since I don't know where in MN you are). Some other Rhodies like Marjatta are hardy to zone 4 which is the southern half of MN. So you have to carefully investigate your variety, but you should be able to find one that works for you.

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Location: Lexington KY

From what I can gather from your requirements

I have a few recomendations

canadian Hemlock weeping form
Tsuga Canadensis "Pendula"
Takes shade well, is native to your climate zone, actually prefers part shade looks good as an informal hedge and also takes shearing and shaping well. Slow growing. Trends to getting wider than tall. A little bit expensive in common best sizes, but takes fewer to create the hedge
Be certain to get the "pendula" form for the other cultivars will not maintain the 6 ft height you ask for.

Ward's Yew
Taxus x Media "Wardii"
Nice dark green dense color takes a formal shearing very well and handles northern winters with heavy snowfall very well, without splitting. Like all Yews, it takes anything from full sun to full shade, becoming a bit less dense in part sun to full shade conditions. tends to grow as wide as tall. This means you may need fewer of them to do what you are wanting to do. They are also very very inexpensive.

Chineese Juniper 'Sea Green'
Juniperus x pfitzeriana 'Sea Green'
should also do well.. might be a little diificult to find but again does well as a hedge. may or maynot show distress on the shader portions of your hedge.

With broadleafed evergreens, cannot do better than the Hollies
They do not suffer the winter kill that Rhodies can undergo during the windy winter days and nights. they provide nice winter color and nice foliage during the summer

They shear up into a formal hedge very easily but likewise make a nice informal hedge so long as you can do occasional pruning to remove what I like to call "Wild Hairs" branches that are growing far too tall or quick.
they have beautiful red berries of course, are very inexpensive, can be fairly quick growing but very easy to keep to height.

I recommend the "Blue Prince" and "Blue Princess" They take cold and wind and even half shade very well. Deep blue almost purplish foliage
does not winter burn much if at all. If you decide to go with the hollies, you will need the "prince" to polinate the "Princess"es. One prnce has enough pollen to polinate 100 princesses but they do not make the pretty berries. I have often advised one of two methods, either do the entire hedge out of the princesses and then stash a prince somewhere else on the property wher the lack of pretty berries isn't an issue OR place a prince on each end of the hedge, keeping it all symmetrical

I hope this wan't informational overload LOL

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