Zone 8 Shrubs For Hedges: Choosing Zone 8 Hedge Plants
By: Teo Spengler
Hedges serve many useful purposes in a garden and backyard. Border hedges mark your property lines, while privacy hedges protect your yard from prying eyes. Hedges can also serve as wind blocks or hide unsightly areas. If you live in zone 8, you may be looking for zone 8 shrubs for hedges. You’ll have quite a few choices. Read on for tips on growing hedges in zone 8, as well as ideas for zone 8 hedge plants that are suitable for whatever purpose you’re hoping to achieve.
Choosing Hedge Plants for Zone 8
In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8, winter temperatures dip to 10 to 20 F. (-12 to -7 C.). You’ll want to pick zone 8 hedge plants that thrive in that temperature range.
You’ll have so many hedge plants for zone 8 to choose among that you’ll have to narrow it down before going shopping. One big consideration is height. Hedge plants for zone 8 range from sky-scraping arborvitae to ornamental flowering bushes that are knee high or less.
The purpose of your hedge will dictate the height you need. For a privacy hedge, the plants will need to grow at least to 6 feet (about 2 meters) tall. For windbreaks, you’ll need an even higher hedge. If you’re just trying to mark your property line, you can consider shorter, prettier plants.
Zone 8 Hedge Plants
Once you have narrowed down the specifications for your hedge, it’s time to look over the candidates. One popular hedge plant is boxwood (Buxus selections). Because boxwood tolerates shearing and shaping, it is often used to create clipped hedges or even geometric forms. Varieties grow to 20 feet (6 m.) tall in zones 5 through 9.
If you’d like something with showy flowers, check out glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora). If you are growing hedges in zone 8 with this shrub, you’ll enjoy dangling trumpet-shaped blossoms all summer long. The shiny leaves are evergreen and grow to 6 feet (2 m.) tall in zones 6 through 9.
Japanese barberry is great for a defensive hedge with its sharp spines creating an almost impenetrable barrier on this 6-foot-tall (2 m.) shrub. Some varieties have foliage in shades of chartreuse, burgundy, and rosy red. The shrubs are deciduous and many give you a fall show as well.
If you want a spined shrub but prefer something taller, flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) plants work well as zone 8 shrubs for hedges. These grow to 10 feet (3 m.) tall and offer crimson or white flowers in spring.
Sawara false cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) is even taller than quince, maturing over the years to 20 feet (6 m.). It is also called threadleaf false cypress because of its delicate needles, an evergreen that grows slowly and lives long in zones 5 through 9.
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Top 10 Best Plants for Hedges and How to Plant Them
If you are thinking about planting a new hedge and having doubts about which plant is the best for you, we offer a list of the most popular ones so you can choose whichever suits you best.
Hedges are a necessary part of every garden, providing privacy, blocking wind, or even buffering noise. But most importantly, edges provide structure to your garden. Hedging plants are usually budget-friendly, especially if you buy them bare-rooted.
Evergreen and semi-evergreen hedging plants should be planted from autumn to late winter, while deciduous plants can be planted any time from leaf fall. In all cases, planting is best delayed until the soil can be worked easily, especially if it is frozen. To ensure a good start in life, prepare the soil well before planting. Depending on the final size of the plant, planting distances vary from 30-60cm.
Almost every tree and shrub can make a hedge, but some of them are preferred due to their specific characteristics. The choice depends mostly on whether you need a fast or slow-growing hedge and whether you want a high, medium, or low hedging. These 10 plants we are featuring are the most popular choice for hedging. Learn more about how and when to plant them.
If you are looking for a fast-growing plant that makes an excellent hedge, consider opting for the beautiful forsythia. This deciduous shrub will mesmerize you with its bright small yellow flowers every spring. It can reach heights of 30 feet tall if not pruned, and it grows up to 20 feet wide. You can plant forsythia any time of the year in areas where freezing is not an issue. In other areas, autumn is the best season to do it. Move and transplant a forsythia during the winter season, when the bush is not actively growing. Choose a full sun location and well-drained soil.
This broadleaf, evergreen upright shrubs can grow both in shady and sunny locations. They can range from only a foot tall to twenty feet tall, depending on the species. Although slow-growing, boxwood is one of the most popular hedges, mostly because of its beautiful evergreen foliage. Another plus is that they are low-maintenance, with pruning being the only requirement. Plant boxwood in fall, spring, or early summer. Boxwood should be planted exposed to the north or south. Thick, fertile soil with a pH between 6 and seven is best.
Another popular hedging plant that will add a pop of color to your garden with its brilliant red shoots. Photinia is an ornamental shrub that is perfect to use for high hedging. For smaller hedges, use the Red Robin, and Everbright varieties like the big-leaved Superhedge are suitable for higher hedges. You can plant photinia from autumn to spring. As for the planting location, choose sun or partial shade for best results. Photinia grows 5 feet to 8 feet in width and 10 feet to 15 feet tall in height, so keep this in mind as you plan where to plant your hedge.
This 12- to 15-foot-tall shrub tolerates drought, heat, wind, and air pollution, so it is pretty obvious why it is one of the most popular hedging plants. Oleander has nice dark, leathery leaves and stunning pink, red, white, or peach blooms. It is also deer resistant, drought-tolerant, and great for privacy. Oleander prefers moist, well-drained soil and a sunny location outdoors. Just have in mind that this is a poisonous plant, so be careful if you have children or pets.
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. The evergreen juniper is so versatile and has the ability to fill any space fast, whether it is used as ground cover or hedge. It can grow 8-10 feet in height and get to 20 feet wide. There are many species in different colors, from green, golden to blue. All have beautiful feathery and fragrant foliage. Plant juniper shrubs in a location with full sun or light shade. It will grow in any soil as long as it is well-drained.
Also known as English Laurel, Cherry Laurel, and Common Laurel, Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia is another popular hedging plant. It is a vigorous, dense evergreen shrub with large, glossy, bright green leaves. Laurel is very easy to grow, thriving even in full shade. It also grows fast, which makes it an economical choice if you want a high hedge. Container-grown plants can be planted at any time of year, while root balled plants should be planted from November to March. Plant them 2 and 3 feet apart.
Taxus baccata, commonly known as yew, is a favorite hedging plant for those who don’t have frequent pruning as it is quite slow-growing while offering dense evergreen foliage. It actually isn’t so slow-growing, reaching 30-40cm a year, but it is easy to maintain when it reaches the desired height. As for planting distance, plant 3 bare-rooted plants per meter, 4 per meter if you choose cell-grown plants. Make sure you plant your yew plants in well-drained soil and water them frequently, especially during the first couple of seasons.
If you want a winter-flowering hedge, then choose winter jasmine or Jasminum nudiflorum. It will definitely bring warmth during the cold winter days with its yellow-colored flowers. And it is so easy to grow as it generally does well on its own. It should be planted in a sunny to half-shade location protected against the wind. Plant it in spring. The only downfall is that the winter jasmine doesn’t have a trace of its family’s characteristic scent.
Fagus sylvatica, or the popular beech, is a deciduous shrub that is great for hedging, especially because of its excellent foliage of green leaves turning golden brown in autumn. Beech is easy to grow and is tolerant of a large range of soils. It grows well in the sun but also partial shade. It is best to plant bare-rooted plants 30cm apart. Soak well right after planting to encourage the roots to spread.
Fruiting hedges provide the functions of a hedge with the benefits of edible fruit. Certain fruiting plants suitable for hedges also produce brightly colored flowers. For instance, pomegranate (Punica) blooms with bright orange-red flowers that produce spherical, edible, yellow to bright-red fruit. Because they are deciduous, pomegranate hedges are less frequently used as privacy screens. Indian laurel fig (Ficus microcarpa), also known as curtain fig, is widely used for hedges because of its hardiness and ease of shaping. Growing to 65 feet tall with a spread of 75 feet, this evergreen tree makes an effective privacy hedge for estates and urban settings. Small fruit is produced sporadically throughout the year.
Tips for Adding Bird-Friendly Shrub to Your Landscape
To make the most of all the shrubs for birds in your backyard…
- Choose plant varieties native to your region. Not only will they require less care and be more adapted to your local climate, but birds will recognize them more easily.
- Select plants that will thrive in your yard's soil type, sunlight levels, available water and the type of care you want to give them, such as how often you want to prune each bush.
- Use a diverse selection of shrubs that will grow to different sizes and provide for different birds' needs, but group plants together to provide more extensive cover for backyard birds.
- Choose shrubs that will serve double duty as natural bird feeders by deliberately choosing shrubs with fruits, nuts or seeds birds can eat.
- Place bushes in your landscape carefully, noting not only their maximum growing height but also their projected width to ensure they have adequate space to grow.
- Follow planting and care instructions for each plant, and ask your local nursery or gardening center for additional recommendations to be sure each shrub is well cared for.
- Use shrubs to connect other parts of your landscape, such as between trees and flowerbeds, to provide secure, sheltered corridors birds can use to stay safe in the yard.
- Minimize pruning to maximize each plant's usefulness to birds. An extra branch may provide a great perch, a bit of nesting material, or just a little more shelter for birds to use.
Adding bushes and shrubs to your yard is a great way to make your landscape more bird-friendly, and with the right shrubs, you'll soon see many more birds enjoying your yard.
Want to add the most valuable shrubs to your bird-friendly yard? Opt for berry bushes for birds for the greatest impact!
Consider Soil Type
Before you run to the garden shop, dig a toe into your turf and put a finger to the wind. In other words, take stock of your soil and local climate, which will go a long way in deciding what type of plant will work for your hedge.
One important evaluation, says Richard Weidman, Agricultural Program Associate Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, N.J., is a soil test. “Acquiring a soil test kit from your local county Extension office, having it processed by the lab for pH levels and other concentrations such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, etc., really gives you that accurate reading.”
Having that information in hand helps provide the basis for “appropriate soil amendments,” says Matthew Kiefer CLM, principal of Kiefer Landscapes. “It’s really an excellent and inexpensive investment.”
Freelance writer Randall Kirkpatrick contributed to this report.