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GardenSMART :: Cold-Hardy Hedges

Cold-Hardy Hedges

By Stephanie Pratt, InstantHedge
Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

This is a message for those living in a cold climate who have given up hope of being able to grow an interesting hedge: you have options! Yes, cherry laurels, yew, and beech are extremely popular in the Zone 5 and up crowd, but don't think for a moment that there aren't beautiful choices for the Zone 4 and below folks as well.

Hardy to USDA Zone 4 (winter temperatures down to -30°F)

Green Mountain Boxwood (Buxus x 'Green Mountain') is a hybrid boxwood that was bred in Canada for superior cold tolerance. It has become one of the most popular boxwood varieties available on the market. It can be grown in parts of every state! Other benefits include deer and rabbit resistance, sun and shade tolerance, evergreen foliage, and a growth rate that is easy to maintain. Green Mountain is perfect for low borders and knot gardens.

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Green Mountain Boxwood growing in spring.

Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum 'Wichita Blue') has stunning, powder blue, needle-type foliage that creates a striking hedge. It is native to the Rocky Mountains and is a great choice for cold, dry climates. It is deer resistant, evergreen, easy to maintain, drought-tolerant, and grows well in full sun. Wichita Blue makes a uniquely beautiful privacy hedge or medium height hedge for design.

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Wichita Blue Juniper hedges in winter.

Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (winter temperatures down to -40°F)

Flame Amur Maple (Acer ginnala 'Flame') has lush, green foliage in the spring and summer with vibrant fall colors in hues of yellow, red, and orange (hence its name). It has a quick growth rate and creates a nice privacy screen in summer, while allowing light through its bare branches in the winter. It hedges very well and has a naturally multi-trunked habit. It grows well in full sun to partial shade, is more drought tolerant than most maples, has fair deer-resistance, and does not have any major disease issues. Flame makes an excellent privacy hedge for the spring and summer months and adds wonderful seasonal interest to a landscape.

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Flame Amur Maple hedges leafing out in spring.

Hardy to USDA Zone 2 (winter temperatures down to -50°F)

American Arborvitae and Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis and T. occidentalis 'Smaragd') are the same species of extremely cold-hardy North American native. They have very different growth rates and habits, with the straight American Arborvitae growing fast, tall, and wide and the Emerald Green growing very slowly, tall, and narrow. Emerald Green is prized for its compact width and bright green foliage year-round. Neither one is deer-resistant, though, so if you have a deer problem, you'll want to find a different option. Both make excellent privacy hedges, and grow in full sun.

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American Arborvitae hedge in winter.

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Emerald Green Arborvitae hedge in winter.

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) is another North American native with extreme cold-hardiness. It has a profusion of white flowers in late spring that are attractive to bees and butterflies. Later in the summer, blue-black fruits appear that birds love. It has no serious disease issues and is deer-resistant. Arrowwood Viburnum makes a wonderful deciduous hedge that adds seasonal interest and is great for all kinds of wildlife.

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Arrowwood Viburnum hedge flowering in late May.

 


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