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Evergreen Shrubs And Hedges Are Important, Cold Hardy Landscape Specimen Plants
Beyond the landscape importance of trees are the shrubs that grow in our gardens, parks, landscape foundations, street borders and commercial landscapes. There are thousands of different types of shrubs grown on ornamental lawns, yards, and borders, but only a few varieties are available for purchase to plant and grow at your local nursery. Many shrubs are selected and grown based on the intelligent purchase of flowering hedges, evergreen cold hardiness, non-flowering hedges, berry bushes and deciduous shrubs. In autumn and winter many shrubs shine with brightly colored leaves.
Although it is common for some shrub stems to die from shade, they will be renewed by new shoots; And like trees, shrubs live for years and are considered a good asset, a long-term investment and a permanent fixture in the landscape.
Shrubs usually planted as privacy hedges will mature in four to five years to the point that the privacy screen is vigorous and dense enough to hide whatever is behind it.
Some shrubs grow in dry soils; Others thrive in moist soils, but most fall into shrubs and hedges and require well-drained growing areas. All other potential growing factors are important for planting shrubs and hedges such as height, shade, exposure to wind and relative fertility of the soil. For example, azaleas grow well in the shade of most trees, including pine trees, and if planted to grow in full sun they will shrink rapidly and soon die. Azaleas need organic matter in the soil to thrive, and proper soil acidity (pH) is essential for azalea plants to survive. Pine straw is often effective in keeping azaleas weed free. Long rows of azalea trees planted beneath pine trees are often dramatic, when azalea flowers display their extended blooms. Azalea’s shallow root system requires plenty of watering during the dry season to insure abundant azalea blooms, spring after summer drought.
Small evergreen shrubs
To ensure the presence of green during the dreary days of winter, evergreen shrubs are an important choice for planting. Many gardeners want an evergreen shrub as a hedge to maintain privacy when cold weather arrives. Anise, Ilysium florianum grows in short hedges at resorts like Sea Island, Georgia, and in summer the leaves give off an exotic red flower and liquorice scent. Acuba japonica variegata ‘Gold Dust’ is also known as the gold dust plant. Acuba makes an interesting low-growing shrub for planting and growing next to brick buildings. Cleyera, Ternstroemia gymanthera, is an interesting shrub for coastal areas, as Cleyera shrubs are very tolerant of saltwater sprays and the waxy green leaves give the landscape a unique tropical look. Boxwood, Buxus microphylla asiaticum, is salt water tolerant with dense color throughout zones 5 – 9. Boxwood is one of the most important and popular shrubs to purchase in the US, especially as a neat, clean grower, boxwood is not fast growing. , thus taking several years to reach a height of 3 feet. Boxwood seedlings are usually planted in rows along walkways. Large boxwood plants work well in group plantings in front of buildings
Eleagnus, Eleagnus pungens, is one of the fastest growing shrubs and makes an excellent barrier hedge or privacy fence that can grow up to 10 feet tall. elegans is tolerant of salt water and can be grown in containers in commercial locations. Interstate highway landscaping is filled with large groups and elegans, Elegnus pungens, shrubs to reduce automobile fumes and truck highway noise.
Holly shrubs are characteristically diverse, very adaptable and versatile in the landscape. The most popular hollies are: Burford holly, Ilex cornuta; Carissa holly, Ilex cornuta ‘Carissa’; dwarf Chinese holly, Ilex cornuta; dwarf Japanese holly, Ilex crenata; Helleri Holly, Ilex crenata; Needlepoint Holly, Ilex cornuta ‘Needlepoint’; Sky Pencil Holly, Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’; Savannah holly, Ilex x attenuata; Stokes Dwarf Holly, Ilex vomitoria ‘Stokes Dwarf’; Dwarf Yapon Holly, Ilex vomitoria; Weeping yaupon, Ilex vomitoria pendula.
Japanese Aralia, Fatsia japonica, most commonly called Fatsia. In the landscape, Fatsia is often planted and grown in large groups near shaded house entrances or under shade trees for that bold tropical look. Fatsia can be grown as a large specimen plant or grow as a shrub as a containerized fatsia houseplant. Philodendron celom is often used as a Fatsia and can grow into a large, attractive specimen plant on slender, woody stems (stalks). Also used as a philodendron hybrid, xanadu, Japanese aralia, fatsia, and philodendron sellum, but largely as an indoor or outdoor container plant. The waxy, deep green leaves are very cold hardy, and although philodendron grows outside of zones 5 – 10, it regenerates from vigorous roots in the spring after the ground freezes.
Pittosporum tobira can be grown as an outdoor plant or containerized shrub. Pittosporum plants display bright green leaves year-round and grow best in low-light shaded areas. The flowers are small, white and fragrant like crushed leaves. Florists use stems and leaves as filler in flower arrangements. Pittosporum shrubs are not fast growing, but can eventually form an excellent privacy hedge to block automobile noise and smoke emissions. Because Pittosporum tobira shrubs are tolerant of brackish water, these shrubs are popularly used in landscaping in Sea Island, Georgia. Large specimens of Pittosporum tobira are used as evergreen small plants, subtly presenting an exotic, tropical appearance. Pittosporium tobira “Variegata” has variegated white and light green leaves with fragrant white flowers, blooming in summer. The variegated leaf form of Pittosporum tobira does not burn in strong sunlight like most variegated shrubs.
Large evergreen shrub
Large evergreen shrubs sometimes grow into smaller deciduous trees over several years. These large evergreen shrubs provide attractiveness, privacy and evergreen, cool hardy color to the garden. Arizona Cypress is also known as Carolina Sapphire, Cupressus glabra ‘Carolina Sapphire’, and is a fast growing evergreen that can grow 20 – 30 feet tall. In very hot regions the leaves grow threadlike and survive drought or stress well.
Arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, is an American native evergreen shrub that can grow almost anywhere in the US. Arborvitae, the dark green leaves of Thuja occidentalis may turn yellow, orange or maroon in winter, but the green color is restored in colder zones. Hardy tolerance, 2 – 8, in the spring. Other species of arborvitae are: Emerald, Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald’; Little Giant, Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Giant’; Little Golden Giant, Thuja occidentalis ‘Little Golden Giant’; Aurea nana, Thuja occidentalis ‘Aurea nana’;
Blue Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’, would qualify as one of the most important specimen evergreen trees used in the landscape. Plants are not fast growing, but are hardy in zones 7 – 11. The dense leaves are branched and grow in large columns 3-4 feet wide. Italian cypress can grow up to 40 feet outdoors, and Italian cypress trees grown in large containers can be shipped quickly by semi-truck or UPS. The Italian cypress, Cupressus sempervirens ‘Glauca’ can bring architectural attention to large buildings. Italian cypress trees are often planted along commercial banks, along large walkways, or along the borders of memorial gardens.
Leyland cypress, Cupressocyparis leylandi, is a fast-growing shrub that is often planted as a privacy hedge, but in many cases Leyland cypress can grow into a large specimen tree that can reach 130 feet. Leyland cypress shrub (tree) is a fast growing intergenic hybrid. Erosion control can be achieved quickly by allowing these vigorous Leyland cypress shrubs to root quickly and cool the earth.
Podocarpus macrophylla and Podocarpus nagi are the most widely grown Podocarpus shrubs. Shearing podocarpus is a common plant practice to create a sculptural look. Podocarpus can be grown as a border plant for paths, but after many years, grows into a small, evergreen tree, up to 10 feet. Salt water and cold hardy tolerance in zones 7 – 10 make podocarpus a top choice to buy for any landscape garden.
Wax myrtle or bayberry, Myrica cerifera, is commonly grown in the wild as a native American plant, but nursery-grown plants provide a fast-growing screen that spreads by underground shoots. Birds and wildlife love this plant for nesting and protective cover. The waxy, gray berries are fragrant and are commonly used to scent candles with a woody scent. All parts of wax myrtle bushes are fragrant and are grown to block noise and harmful automobile fumes. Very old wax myrtle plants grow into exotic-looking small trees, which are fragrant specimens in the landscape. The wax myrtle shrub, Myrica serifera, is a commonly grown natural plant that is enthusiastically used as a saltwater and cold hardy tolerant hedge or landscape tree at the famous resort hotel in Sea Island, Georgia.
Copyright (c) 2006 Patrick Malcolm
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