Growth Rate

Salisbury, NC

I just surrounded my backyard with a wooden fence at 8 feet high in order to allow my two boxers to run free. However, my property is now referred to by my daughter as "Fort Bennett". I've been researching shrubs and trees in order to start softenting the starkness of the fence. I need to know what it means when it states the growth rate (ie: fast, slow, or moderate). About how many feet or inches a year do these terms mean? This is my first posting...thanks for your help.

Thumbnail by southernstorm
Mt.Pleasant, SC(Zone 8b)

Wow, where do I start?

Fast can mean 1' to many feet in a year. Slow can mean hardly grows at all to several inches. And of course morderate is some where in between. If you could be more specific on what you are thinking of planting I feel I could help you more. Let me know what zone you are in and what you want to do.

This is a shout out for anyone else who lives near southernstorm for some help for her.

Nice fence though. I don't thinkn it looks like Fort Anything.


Salisbury, NC

I'm in zone 7. I've not decided on the type of shrubs yet but would like various evergreens against the fence that grows to 5-8 feet to soften the the hard lines of the fence year round. I would like a fast or moderate growing evergreen because I'd like coverage in 2-3 years. In front of the taller evergreens, I'd like to graduate down to evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous shrubs ranging in the 4-6 feet. Then perennials in front of the shorter shrubs. I'm prettty good with perennials but the shrubs have me stumped. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. The soil varies around the fence from dry, red clay on the left, upper hill of the house to wet on the right lower side (with regular rain) and average soil in between. (photo shows lower, wet side). Thanks folks.

Thumbnail by southernstorm
Cullowhee, NC(Zone 6b)

How about...


Your local nursery should have some things in now. Ours is just now getting shipments and we are in zone 6B. Go to the nursery with your photo and get a helpful person to show you some plants. You're going to need a bunch!

Mt.Pleasant, SC(Zone 8b)

Ok, here goes, look at Leyland Cypress for your tall layer, evergreen, grows fast and is fluffy hardy and will give you great coverage and privacy. Also, maybe for a shorter layer, maybe wax myrtle, if they grow there and ligustrum and privet. I would incorporate things like dogwood, some azalea and camellia too for color. You might like to look at lorapetalum for more color and it is pretty and grows fast. Also look at eleagnus for quick growth and awesome scent once a year. This one gets massive and quickly. But you need to check your horticultural zone to make sure they do well where you live. You could also look some flowering evergreen vines and climbing roses as well for texture color and scent. And then don't forget low growers like bulbs, perennials and of course annuals. And you might want to incorporate a water element, either free standing or hung off of the fence.

Hope this helps.


Salisbury, NC

Wow Ginny...thanks so much for your suggestions. I'm going to research your suggestions. My favorite site to research is with N.C. State at
Thanks again,

Mt.Pleasant, SC(Zone 8b)

Good luck, let me know what you end up doing. I think everything should grow in your area, YOu could do hemlock or frazier fir instead of leyland cypress. But, the leyland really gets there size wise pretty fast.


Bluffton, SC(Zone 9a)

Leyland would be the way to go. You can trim them to keep small if you want and they should grow very fast, 1,2 feet a year. Maybe more.

gardener413, I have all those plants in my yard but I'm not sure if he could use those. He's a lot cooler.

Columbia, SC

Leyland Cypresses have had some problems. I'd grow Thuja 'Green Giant' instead. We purchased three and planted them kind of close together for a fast wind screen. They do need water, though, to grow quickly.

I highly recommend Ligustrum texensis because it's not invasive and also grows very rapidly.

Please consider planting Rosa chinensis 'Mutabilis' for an easy-care extremely long-blooming rose. Mine blooms from April past Thanksgiving, although I'm a bit south of you. 'Mutabilis' grows quickly and gets about 6' tall and wide.

A wonderful way to soften a fence is to encourage vines to grow on them -- either directly or with the assistance of some wire fastened to it. Check out Confederate Jasmine, especially the cultivar called 'Madison' which should be hardy for you. Mine is evergreen and horribly misplaced on my mailbox post. It really needs a nice large fence to show off best. Confederate Jasmine is also called Star Jasmine which aptly describes the fragrant white flowers in Spring.

By the way, I totally envy all your space, she says from her cramped subdivision lot!

Aulander, NC(Zone 7a)

Loropetalum for nice color contrast, mahonia for great structure and color, and have you considered some of the smaller, hardier shrub roses like Nearly Wild?

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