7 Hedge Plants to Grow in New Jersey


Hedge plants can be used to create a border or privacy. Which ones should you consider growing in New Jersey?
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Gardens can be enclosed by walls and fences, but a hedge can also serve a similar purpose. Beyond creating boundaries, hedges also help absorb pollutants, reduce noise, minimize flooding, and can be food and shelter for animals.

In this article, I will be sharing 7 types of hedges that you can incorporate into your New Jersey landscape!

1. Hybrid Willow Tree

Hybrid willow trees grow at a rapid pace of 6 – 10 feet each year and can reach a maximum height of 50 – 75 feet and 20 – 30 feet wide. With this growth rate, it can quickly become a thick, living privacy fence. 

These trees need at least 6 hours of direct sunshine each day to flourish, but they grow well when planted in partial shade. Although hybrid willow trees tolerate different soil types, they grow best in wet, well-draining soil.

Plant hybrid willow trees at least 3 feet apart to grow them as a thick privacy hedge. To create a windbreaking effect, plant double rows and space them in a staggered pattern at least 5 feet apart. 

2. Sky Pencil Holly

A sky pencil holly is a narrow low-maintenance tree that can reach heights of up to 8 feet tall and expand 2 feet wide. 

Sky pencil holly trees grow in full to partial sun and thrive in slightly acidic that drains well. In colder climates, adding mulch around the tree’s base is a good idea to preserve the roots during the winter. Water it generously twice a week for the first several months after it’s planted. 

This tree is excellent to use as a hedge; they’re thinner than standard bushes, which makes them ideal for planting in smaller spaces. They also make landscapes look well-groomed without much work.

sky pencil holly tree

3. Emerald Green Thuja

The emerald green thuja has towering sprays of glossy, emerald green leaves with tiny bundles of reddish-brown cones. They make excellent foundation plants and organic privacy screens when planted in smaller yards. Once planted, these trees can grow 1 – 2 feet per year.

Plant this tree in a spot where it will get full sunshine or moderate shade. Ideally, ensure it’s planted in wet and well-drained loamy soil that has a pH between 6 – 8.

This thick, evergreen hedge maintains its vibrant color and shape year-round. This, along with its moderate growth rate, makes it a great hedge. Plant the trees 3 – 4 feet apart for a windbreaking effect or to grow them as a natural privacy screen.

tall emerald green thuja trees

4. Skip Laurel

People who want thick, luxurious privacy hedges sometimes choose to skip laurel trees. They have a slower growth rate (around 24 inches per year) and grow 10 – 18 feet tall and around 5 – 7 feet wide. 

Their lush foliage is glossy green year-round, and it grows fragrant white flowers in the spring.

Skip laurel trees thrive in partial shade and full sun; they only need well-draining soil. Avoid watering it excessively. Instead, wait until the top layer of the soil has dried before watering it.

To create a hedge, space them 2 – 3 feet apart. Grow a thicker, wider hedge by spacing a second row of skip laurel trees approximately 6 feet from the first row. 

This tree can tolerate adverse weather and drought, which helps make it one of the most popular hedges. 

healthy bush of skip laurel tree

5. New Jersey Tea

New Jersey tea is a deciduous shrub that grows clusters of small, fragrant white flowers. It develops slowly over 2 seasons and, once mature, it will reach a height of 3 – 4 feet.

For optimal results, plant New Jersey tea shrubs in sandy, loamy, acidic soil that drains well. It should also be planted where it will get 6 – 8 hours of direct sunshine each day.

New Jersey tea makes a beautiful, low-growing hedge when spaced 2 – 3 feet apart.

6. Arrowwood 

Arrowwood is an attractive shrub with brilliant green serrated leaves. It can grow up to 15 feet tall and produces non-fragrant white flowers that bloom in late spring. These flowers transition to blue-black, berry-like drupes that entice birds and other wildlife.

This shrub needs at least 4 hours of direct sunshine and grows best in loamy, well-drained, acidic soil. Water arrowwood shrubs moderately and add a thin layer of mulch around its base to help maintain the soil’s moisture level and temperature for healthy roots.

arrowwood bushes as fencing

7. Hazelnut 

The hazelnut tree is extremely easy to grow, and it grows at a rapid pace of 1 – 2 feet each year. This tree’s hair-like green leaves turn orange and yellow in the fall.

Hazelnut trees tolerate a broad range of soil types as long as it’s well-drained and not too rich. Overly-rich soil promotes excessive leaf development, but at the price of the tree’s blooms and nuts. 

If growing flowers and hazelnuts is your goal, consider planting your tree in an area that gets full sun for most of the day. Hazelnut trees also tolerate partial shade, but you may notice a reduction in blooms and, consequently, hazelnuts.

The hazelnut tree can be planted by itself to create an eye-catching feature hedge or plant alongside other plants. Either way, hazelnut trees create excellent hedges that form a thick screen of green when pruned. 

They can also make great windbreakers when 2 – 3 trees are planted in a row. 

hazelnut tree healthy green leaves
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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