Best shrub for screens

g squared 23

Well-Known Member
I have some Norways planted to screen a small field but they are very small and a long way from helping. I was thinking of adding a row of shrubs that can help in the short to mid term.

Egyptian wheat has been tried and failed, so I'm thinking a shrub would be best.

Soil is well-drained clay, full sunlight. I'm looking for something medium to fast growing. Deer browse is ok as it's tucked far enough back that I'm not worried about poaching.

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I like what I see my native dogwoods doing. I have a couple of fence rows where the dogwood is keeping the jbh bushes at bay. I'm hoping to propagate some from cuttings next spring. I'm also planting some rows of hazelnuts in '18- I have 2 clumps on the farm currently, and I really like how eagerly they seem to grow- plus nuts!
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sawtooth oaks. You can cut the central leader on them after you get some growth and create one heck of a screen. They are the fastest growing tree I have planted and they hold their leaves until the new ones flush in the spring. Mixing some red cedar with them be good too
Gray dogwood is super thick with stemmy growth. Plants will sucker and dominate when established. Ninebark deserves mention for fast growth and holding leaves late into the fall.

Sawtooths do exactly as mentioned above and they work great for shrubby screens when cut. But they require maintenance. Dang things are always growing for the sky.
I'm not an expert on the subject, but have you considered MG? I grew nearly 30 plants over the summer from cuttings and they are now in their long term home.....and if I can do it anybody can. Get some cuttings or even rhizones and plant you a wall of rigid grass in just a few years. Just a thought. Oaks and beech trees hold their leaves well into the fall here as well....if you could cut/train them into shrubs. I also have planted vine honeysuckle on woven wire fence for a low screen as well as the honeysuckle here is virtually an evergreen.
I really like the look of Ninebark as mentioned above but it takes a long time for it get growing in Central MN. But I continue to have awesome luck using Speckled Alder for screening. Photo attached with speckled alder and ninebark planted on the same day and height. The ninebark I did surround with chicken wire to prevent deer browse. Never have browse issue with the Speckled Alder.