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Help need advise

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  • Help need advise

    I need to plant a 20 foot section of fence and need an evergreen hedge that I can keep at about 5 to 6 feet for the birds to hide in can anyone give me an idea everything I've looked at is deciduous I need evergreen??????

  • #2
    Hi Jodiesongbird,

    There really isn't enough info here to be able to make any suggestions. You don't say where you live (if in the US, what is your hardiness zone), what the sun conditions are and how much depth there will be to the planting bed. If I can find what you need, how wide can these shrubs grow?



    • #3
      Hi Newt, Sorry there really wasn"t enough info. Here you go Zone 7 sunny location good soil right next to a dogwood tree Delaware 30 miles from the ocean southern exposure, no more then 3 feet wide if I have forgotten anything let me know


      • #4
        Thanks for the updated info. That's going to be most helpful. My daughter lives in Delaware and you aren't all that far from me. When it comes to shrubs for birds to hide in, 3' in width isn't much to protect them from the elements, so don't be disappointed if they don't use them much. If there are particular birds that you have in your area, or particular birds you want to attract, knowing that could be helpful. We have many different types of bird feeders in our small yard and find that different birds use different types of shelter. I have large mature evergreen Japanese holly shrubs that the birds use for cover from time to time. These are a species of holly with smooth edged leaves. Not 5' from them is a tangled mass of native honeysuckle aka Lonicera sempervirens and climbing Carolina aster aka Ampelaster carolinianus that they seem to prefer for shelter and use all year long all the time. We've had birds build nests in the mass in the spring and seek shelter there all winter long. Both these vines are considered semi-evergreen in my zone 7 garden. I think one of the things that attract the birds is the berries from the honeysuckle and the flower seeds from the aster. The other is the fact that these vines are more open in structure then the pruned hollies. Anything that grows tight and compact leaves less room for the birds to move around. Even though the temps have dipped well below freezing many nights, the blooms of the aster are still visible. It seems as if they are frozen in time. This mass is across from my kitchen windows and the birds keep me entertained all year long, especially now. Scroll down at this first site to read about the climbing aster.

        For your purposes I think one of the best holly shrubs would be Ilex crenata 'Steeds'. You may have to prune them as they age to keep them in scale. I would not suggest shearing, but hand pruning so they are more open in character.

        Taxus x media 'Smokestack' aka Smokestack yew might work for you as it will stay narrow and won't get taller then 6' to 12'. It should be open enough for the birds.

        Pieris japonica, a broad leaf evergreen, comes in many varieties with red or red-tinged color to the new growth of the foliage in spring, which will turn green as it ages. Some like Pieris japonica 'Forest Flame' (below) are redder then others. The bonus is the lovely flowers. There are many to look at depending on how much color you might want to see from the new growth. Most have flower clusters that resemble lily of the valley and come in either white or pink. Each different named cultivar will have a different mature height and mature width.

        Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire'

        Ilex glabra aka inkberry is evergreen and there are different selected cultivars. Mine are over 30 years old and were planted by the builder, so I suspect they are the species. Ilex glabra 'Shamrock' is a dwarf form, growing 3' to 4' wide and tall. That probably won't be tall enough for you and these shrubs may not be open enough for the birds.

        Ilex glabra 'Compacta' grows a bit larger.

        Ilex glabra 'Densa' is similar to the 'Compacta' above, growing about 4' by 4'.

        Ilex crenata 'Hetzii' might be a good choice.

        Thuja occidentalis 'Holmstrup' aka Holmstrup arborvitae might work for you, but it's dense in growth habit and not really a good place for birds to hide.

        If you decide to mail order any plant material you can check their references here and even search by state or plant material.

        Compost and mulch calculator:

        Let me know what you think of those selections.