by Judy Kautz, OSU Extension Master Gardener
Are you a homeowner that desires a little isolation in your landscape? Do you want a fast-growing natural greenery screen that offers privacy? With some right choices, you can make it happen, especially if you know exactly what you want when you shop at the garden center. Which plants grow fast and what are their natural habits? Plants are a lot like people, and they like to do it their way. This article will help you identify the plants that will flourish and find happy homes in your retreat.
For a fast-developing green privacy fence, try bamboo. Woody, sectioned stems branch out in leafy clusters while the jointed rhizomes in the root system concentrate on developing underground. Choose the type that fits your property: Running bamboo grows much like the lady fern. One plant can send rapidly growing roots for distances away from the parent plant where they send up multiple vertical shoots from joints. CAUTION – running bamboo is very invasive, so use care when planting it. An alternative is clumping bamboo, which has a clumping habit much like the beautiful wood fern. The underground rhizomes remain close to the parent and form neat clumps. Get ready for action from a mature plant that may increase in length by several feet a day.
For beautiful color in a tall-growing deciduous shrub, plant Rose of Sharon, which has a natural spreading habit that can easily serve as a shield for any homeowner that desires an amount of seclusion; another benefit is that it can be pruned into a flat shape. If you choose this plant for a natural green fence, it will reward you with mid-summer, beautiful hibiscus-like blooms.
Rose of Sharon can grow up to 20 feet and blooms in the summer.
Enjoy holiday color and concealment with winter red Holly. A dense, impenetrable natural fence is possible in your landscape with this plant, which displays clusters of red berries. It has the security of a chain-link fence without the intrusion of man-made wires. It can grow into a thicket that protects your home like brambles. Pruning and maintenance determine the height, but unchecked, it can tower to 15 feet.
Winter red holly can form an impenetrable fence and rewards in winter with beautiful red berries.
Windbreaks or screens are popular using cypress, an evergreen that displays tiny scale-like leaves and produces medium size cones that appear to have scales. The Arizona Cypress can grow to 40 feet tall and spread to 20 feet. It’s the answer to any privacy concern. Another alternative is Italian Cypress, a thick, columnar form of a tree that can reach 60 feet. New growth puts on a show of golden yellow foliage.
The Clematis vine can be the answer to an earth-friendly solid wall of greenery. A trellis or wire fence covered with clematis becomes a colorful blooming display in the spring season; moreover, it’s a secure fence that’s easy to maintain. Clip some of the blossoms from your privacy fence and use them for interior decorating.
Clematis offers beautiful color as well as covering a fence.
Privet is a shrub that may be the most popular plant for hedge designs. The blue-black fruits make it attractive to birds. White flowers appear in spring and in early summer, which transforms the greenery into a spectacular show. Your privacy is guaranteed when you invest your time and money into growing a natural privet screen.
Photinia is a plant that will attract birds as well as offer privacy. Some types of Photinia can grow to 15 feet, which makes them suitable for your secluded family retreat. Red or black berries that appear through the fall and winter months become invitations to the birds. Add some clusters of white flowers in spring, and your hideaway is complete.
Finally, Ivy spreads horizontally over the ground, and it can vertically turn a chain link fence into a private green wall promptly. It climbs walls and trellises with aerial rootlets that grasp and cling. The roots run deep in the soil to discourage erosion, and it has a dependable and uniform growth habit that is a welcome addition to any yard decor.
Living greenery screens are a great alternative to providing privacy in your yard. Remember, every plant that you introduce into your green environment will thrive with your care. Also, changing seasons turn your greenery into constant explosions of beauty, and they never need painting!
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