Chain link fence planting

Virginia Beach, VA(Zone 8a)

Advice please!
Our neighbor has a chain link that runs about 15 feet along the back of our yard. (I just don't have the $ right now to extend our privacy fence over it.) I'm going to plant some shrubs or grasses along it.

I was thinking good ol' boxwood since it has to be kept a certain height for misc reasons. But, then I thought a nice fountain fountain grass might break up the linear line of the fence a bit.
- a.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Careful of boxwood, since boxwood blight is a new and severe problem.

Like the viburnum beetle - which arrived in my area in spring - it is easy to treat organically if you know about it. If you don't know what to do, it kills your plants over time and disfigures them very quickly.. I successfully treated my three affected plants and those of a client with spinosad, but you have to go out and LOOK at your plants to see the teeny tiny brown larvae that, if not stopped, will pupate, drop to the ground in May (here), and start chewing in spring.

If you have some sun and acid soil (or are willing to use Spray ironite) myrica pennsylvanica (bayberries) are awesome. They sucker, so if you lose one it will replace itself. Mine grew 12 feet high and completely sheltered our from porch from passersby. We had high ph soil, and simply spraying with Ironite, which only took a couple of minutes, kept them happy.You can chop them much shorter. Inkberry is a shorter version:

And you are right - ornamental grasses give you tremendous privacy. There are miscanthus as short as two feet.

There are lots of good ways to use plants for privacy. And it's much cheaper than a fence. The first picture is gracillimus. This was at my old house, where we had MAJOR privacy issues. The first is in October. The second in July

We used a lot of grasses for privacy. Miscanthus is great if you have sun.

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Virginia Beach, VA(Zone 8a)

Thank you, DonnaMack! I hadn't heard about the blight.
Yikes! Will avoid.
And thanks for the informative reply and pics!

This message was edited Oct 7, 2017 8:21 AM

Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

Beautiful as always, Donna!
Abbie, how much depth do you have for the privacy fence and what height are you looking to maintain? How much sun do you get?
Grasses are very beautiful but you do cut them down each spring if you don't mind a little lapse in privacy and they are very difficult to remove once established. Also, they can flop so be careful with your selection. I have to tie mine up.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Loretta, you are absolutely right. Some are notorious floppers, especially the really old cultivars. 'Silberfeil' tends to die out in the middle.'Zebrinus' is a striped one that flops like mad. It was replaced by 'Strictus' which is on the left below. The one on the right is 'Silberfeder" which was put in lots of gardens and tends to flop. But 'Morning Light', gracillimus and 'Strictus' are tall grasses that do not flop. I had them for over ten years and they stood tall like soldiers.

The second photo is 'Morning Light'. Absolutely fantastic and very erect but... it is sharp to the touch and it takes a longer time to bloom than most grasses. But it is magnificent and I have some in my new yard.

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Pequannock, NJ(Zone 6b)

They look great! I have Zebrinus and its near my neighbor's fence. It always flops towards his side and he isn't the type that likes any overhanging plants. But you can stand on the shovel and it won't even make a dent. So I either tie it up or sometimes I just cut it down which is a shame because it does block my view.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I was lucky in that it was my first yard and I got a garden plan. I asked for miscanthus, and noticed that everyone who asked for grasses had 'Silberfeder' and I didn't. I think they knew about it.

The most incredible really large grass is 'Bluttenwunder'. Just magnificent. Hard to find now. It's on the left in this picture, taken on an incredible foggy day. For contract, the one on the right is 'Silberfeder'.

The flowers on 'Bluttenwunder' are spectacular. It's a really big grass, like 'Strictus', but is very much worth having.

I had to dial back my grasses at my new house because my neighbor has a walnut tree. It kills miscanthus, as well as peonies, so I couldn't put those babies down my 60 foot driveway.

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

How about ilex? Would provide foliage all year and some grow rather quickly. Lovely cuttings for Christmas decor too.

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Somerville, MA

Any of the meservae ilex. They grow fast, are attractive & unkillable. Taxus is boring, but also fast-growing & unkillable. Grasses are a lot of work.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I had 55 grasses. All I had to do is cut them down in spring. Wrapped the bases in duct tape and used a hedge trimmer. I loved them and was happy to do it.

I have a taxus. They get really huge if the soil is good. I spend more time and energy on that one big taxus than I do on all my grasses put together, and I have about 25 now. If I could get that thing out of the ground I would happily replace it with bayberries or more grasses.

This message was edited Jul 26, 2020 12:53 PM

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