Herbal Hedge for Zone 3 to 4
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Bryan Herdman
Posted on: October 27, 1999

I am looking for plant material for a short hedge to be planted on a sandy, full-sun hillside (essentially a glacial moraine). The property is on the border between Zone 4a and Zone 3. I should be able to ensure the area is watered occasionally. I have been considering using southernwood.

I don’t think that any of the southernwoods would overwinter outside for you. The camphor southernwood is the hardiest of the one’s we offer and you might be able to make it survive outside by reaaly piling mulch all over it after the first hard frost. It is rated to zone 4 and might not make it during a hard winter. I garden on the same type of soil you are dealing with and I find that frost goes deeper into this sandy soil than in clay mixes and plants are less hardy than expected. A mulch is a must for most plants and also cuts down on summer water requirements - also high in such a porous soil.

Why don’t you try low bush blueberries? You would have to work in a lot of peat moss and always keep them well mulched, but they are very attractive and of course yield lovely berries.

Do you know if southernwood can be kept to 1 1/2 to 2 feet (45 to 60 centimeters) and look good?

Yes, although right after trimming it will look a bit bare. It soon makes sideshoots and looks bushy again. In your climate You would have to winter the plants indoors as they are rated zone 6 to 10.

In your catalogue you show camphor southernwood (Artemesia camphorata). I have no information on this plant (and I have Deni Bown’s Encyclopdia and the Rodale Encylopedia, amongst others), but I see you consider it ideal for a hedge.

Does it have the same hardiness as southernwood?

It is rated hardy in zones 4 to 10 and is therefore quite a bit hardier than southernwood.

Would it prosper in the given conditions? Would you sell it as plugs, and for what price?

As mentioned above it just might make it through normal winters if you mulch it heavily.

You might get it as plugs as a special order and it would probably cost $50 to $60 per tray. Please e-mail our order department for a quotation if you decide to choose this plant.

I’m also considering Bayberry, but I’ve never grown it in particularily dry conditions - would it be able to handle these conditions?

Bayberry is rated as hardy in zones 5 to 9 and is supposed to have well-drained to wet, sandy, acid soil. It will grow in sun to partial shade.

I would not recommend it for your conditions.

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