Our house backs up to a busy road with woods between the house and road. We have approx. 75 feet of woods. We would like to plant a hedge to block out some of the noise and view of the cars (especially in the winter). I would like to plant Green giant thuja- evergreens but don't know if planting them in the woods is too shady. We like this shrub because they are green all year, anti deer and fast growing. I plan to plant 25 in a Z pattern (cost is a factor).
Anything that tells you it's a giant, in my oppinion is never attractive as it ages and becomes a problem with age as the roots travel way outside the area you thought they would most of the time taking nutrients from the soil that is needed for other more decorative plants, veg or whatever. IT'S all a matter of taste though and you choose whatever you like yourself.
My choice would be Ilex (holly) I'd use different types of Holly, some have white outlines around the leaf, others are yellow in leaf, they are evergreen and IF you plant male AND female plants you will have loads of berries which in turn brings birds, butterflies and other wildlife that are great for eating up all the pests that feed off your other garden plants,
Because they are evergreen and most have sharp prickles on the leaf, the deer dont like them because to keep their shiny foliage, they have an oil to keep the foliage looking nice and shiny, this oil is repugnant to the deer,
IF you can, plant your hedge of Holly like a zig zag style or saw tooth, this makes the hedge for your type of use, wider, more dense and cant be penetrated easily, that includes sound, wind, animals like deer jumping over the hedge as it's too wide when planted zig zag,
the Hollies that have the most colour and berries are mostly the type Aquifolium, also remember that for some reason, the female plants have mail names like Golden King and female have been given names like silver queen for male plants, yes I know it's not normal but who said gardening was Normal LOL. as the plants grow, never remove the growing tip at the top BUT pinch out the side shoots at their tips and this will help the plants thicken out at the sides and wont stop them growing upwards.
for any Hedge you eventually choose, make sure you prepare the soil as well as you can, when you dig your trenches, add as much humus as you can to the bottom of the trench, my best humus choice is horse manure that is well rotted, not smelling like newly dropped poo, it should crumble in your hands and look like good dark soil, gardeners gold we call it. Most places that keep or stable horses will allow you to take away as much as you want for free as they have a daily supply of this stuff,
By adding it to the soil it will give for several years all the nutrients the hedge will need, it allows air into the soil, holds onto moisture when the weather is hot and rain is in short supply and ANY plants you select will pay you back with good growth helping the hedge perform much faster than without this addition.
Lastly, IF your summers are hot, it would be helpful to place clear plastic juice containers into the planting holes at the root area, then when you have to water the plants for the first few years, you fill up the containers with water and it goes right down to the roots where it's most needed, you need to cut off the bottom or these containers and the cap, insert them into the ground narrow end down and leave about an inch above the soil so you can find the containers as you water.
Hope this helps you get off to a good start regardless of what type of hedge you go for. the planting and prep is the exact same.
Best of luck and Kindest Regards.
I would have to disagree with the Arb being deer proof...
How shady is the are you'll be planting these? You say you'll plant them up against the woods I understand they'll be shaded on one side but how much sun and what exposure are you going to be getting on the other side, i.e southern, western, etc?
It may be worth looking into broadleaf shrubs for this setting. Most conifers are either not great in shade, or else slow growing.
I like the ideas of Holly (Ilex) or Viburnum. There are several species and some do quite well in bright shade, not dense shade.
Is there dappled light? Or is the ground always in full shade?
Deer in different areas eat different plants. Drive around your neighborhood and see if there are any plants that are thriving in conditions similar to the area you are looking at.
You might end up with a mixed planting, perhaps a scattering of understory trees that do not grow very tall, but will provide some density from about 10-20' high if there are some areas that need that kind of height, and a lower growing (but still large) shrub between the trees that might grow 6-10' high and wide in a denser, zig-zag row. The denser you can plant the better for the noise. So if you can plant more plants between your house and the road that will help.
Even deciduous plants can provide a lot more privacy than many people realize. When the leaves are gone there are still a lot of branches and twigs that offer some screening. This is not as great for noise reduction, though.
Does Osmanthus grow in your area?
These might be possibilities if the area is really bright shade, not dense shade.
Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) is another possible plant for bright shade. They will outgrow the use in time, though they can be hedged.
Can you irrigate the area? Or are the rains regular enough that you would call the area well watered? Or is the area dry, and we are looking for plants that do not demand a lot of water?
I grow lot's of Holly here on West Coast Scotland for the very fact that deer dont eat the foliage, don't try pass through between TOUCHING holly trees and there are so many varieties that there is always colour all year round but the foliage remains, just berries that give the colour. yellow, purple and red.
If you want thick bushy plants from the bottom upwards, and they are quicker to grow than you think, anyway bush the plants out by nipping off the tips of all side shoots early summer, LEAVE the top leader as this is going to give you hight,
If you plant the smaller trees zig-zag in double row when they are about 6 feet tall, bushy and cant be penetrated, the deer cant jump over as they are afraid of what's on the other side, it could be low laying earth, water, but without that knowledge they deer wont take the chance.
I know Diana is correct by saying different feeds for different deer BUT their natural instincts are the same regarding NOT jumping where they cant see the other side and Holly is NOT a plant that Most animals can digest, the Foliage has oils in it and it's hard to kill off.
Good Luck and best wishes regardless of your choice.
Lynnallen, you could try growing Carolina Allspice. Mine has grown fast in a part shade environment, but it does require a lot of water. Also, goat's beard can grow to 6 ft. high and is ideal for a forest understory, and also relatively inexpensive. Oregon grape does well in shade so I ordered one because most of my garden is shade, and I have several mock orange shrubs growing in mostly shade but though they're healthy the potted ones in brighter sun have more leaves.
Deer will leap over up to 7-8 feet fences or obstacle's but only IF they can see where the ground lay's on the other side. Like lot's of other vegetation feeders, they have favourites and desperate times feed's, so dont for a moment think there is anything deer proof, depending where you live, is there plenty other vegetation close by, and how easy do we make it for the deer to get to our garden plant's / tree's and shrubs. My situation is open woodland, on a coastal situation and the reality is, there is no way we can have fences to keep deer or any other wild animals out, but I can plant things like Holly to prevent them coming too close and the best way to do the taller hedges is 2-3 rows of zig-zag planting, you end up with a hedge more than 6 feet wide and deer wont jump over that because they cant see the other side due to the deep /wide planting. I'm not daft enough to not take into account these very majestic animals wont find another way into our place BUT, most times they move away to pastures new and that's what I'm personally aiming for. In the evenings we sometimes catch them on the shoreline eating the washed up seaweed as they get salts from that, NOW HOW do we grow seaweed LOL.
Good luck, take your time to seek the right choice for you, your wallet and ease of care for the cost your laying out on the hedge, it's for life so remember we get what we pay for when we need long term solutions.