Q: We live north of Atlanta and our soil is red clay. We need some evergreen bushes or hedging trees for privacy and noise blocking from a roadside. They would be planted in a woody area that is shady most of the year (less in winter when oak leaves are gone). Any suggestions?
A: Two candidates that come to mind are Carolina cherry laurel and Canadian hemlock. Both are shade tolerant and will eventually grow tall enough to screen the roadway. Also consider wax myrtle, ‘Nellie Stevens’ holly and perhaps a few camellias for color. If planted in a row along a property line, don’t dig a discrete hole for each plant. Instead, till a band of soil four feet wide for the length of the line. Plant at appropriate intervals in the tilled area. They will grow much faster in this way. Otherwise each plant needs a loosened area six feet in diameter.
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