Shrubs increase privacy by forming a living screen or fence.

Privacy Shrubs for West Virginia

by Linsay Evans

Choosing shrubs for your West Virginia landscape can feel like a challenge; after all, there are so many species, cultivars and hybrids out there to choose from. When it comes to creating more privacy in your yard, though, the choice is clear; you should look at tall evergreen shrubs. Evergreens keep their foliage year-round, creating screens that block unwanted sights and sounds, as well as wind and nosy neighbors. West Virginia lies within U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5a to 7a, so choose compatible shrubs.

1. Sun

For sunny sites that receive six or more hours of direct sunlight each day, plant a Walter pine (Pinus sylvestris "Watereri"). This coniferous shrub grows to 12 feet tall with a 10-foot spread and has twisted, gray-blue needles and ascending branches. Hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, the Walter pine grows well in well-draining soil and tolerates a range of site conditions. Heavenly bamboo or nandina (Nandina domestica) also grows in a variety of conditions, including full sun. This evergreen grows to 8 feet tall with a 3-foot spread and has blue-green foliage that resembles bamboo leaves. It blooms with white flowers in summer and tolerates drought. Heavenly bamboo is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9.

2. Shade

For those partially to fully shaded spots, plant a Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica). These broadleaved evergreens grow to 10 feet tall with a similar spread and create screens of dark, lustrous foliage. They bloom in spring with red-purple flowers followed by berries in autumn. This shrub is hardy in USDA zones 6 to 10. Another shade-tolerant shrub, the leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei), grows to 10 feet tall and wide. Hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9, the leatherleaf mahonia has blue-green foliage that's offset by yellow spring blossoms.

3. Moist Soil

Moist soil doesn't dry out between waterings. Privacy shrubs that prefer moist soil include the leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum), a 15-foot-tall shrub that thrives in moist to wet soil. This evergreen has large leaves with blue-green tops and paler bottoms. It's hardy in USDA zones 6 to 9 and blooms in spring with aromatic white flowers. The Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium) also prefers moist soil. This 6-foot-tall evergreen has glossy foliage and blooms with yellow blossoms in spring. It's hardy in USDA zones 4 to 7 and prefers acidic, well-draining soil.

4. Dry Soil

The bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica) thrives in a range of soil conditions, including dry, poor and sandy. This North American native grows to 10 feet tall and wide and has lustrous, dark green foliage that emits a spicy aroma when crushed. The bayberry is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7.

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