Tall Narrow Shrubs

Written by roma lightsey
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Tall Narrow Shrubs
Shrubs make good privacy screens. (spiral bush in rose garden image by Stephen Orsillo from Fotolia.com)

Tall narrow shrubs can accent a home and serve as a privacy screen or windbreak. They are often used in formal plantings lining a long, straight driveway. They are ideal in small yards where broad-based shrubs would be obtrusive, such as in a corner of a fence. Many shrubs are evergreen and fairly low maintenance. They tend to be tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions and urban pollution.


Some of the most common types of tall narrow shrubs are select species of the holly, juniper and boxwood families. The Japanese holly 'Sky Pencil' is one of the narrowest. This slow-grower can reach 10 feet tall with a base of only one to three feet wide. The arbor vitae 'Emerald Green' can reach a height of 12 feet with a base three to four feet wide. Good juniper choices include Blue Arrow',Skyrocket' and `Prairie Pillar', all of which can reach 15-20 feet.


These shrubs are often used in formal plantings lining a long, straight driveway. Since they are evergreen, they make very effective privacy screens and windbreaks. Many people use them to accent their home or frame a doorway.

Growing Conditions

Junipers do well in poor soil, such as sandy and clay soils. They thrive in direct sun and heat and are common in the south and west. Once established, they are drought tolerant. The hollys grow slowly and prefer full sun to partial shade with well-drained soil. In the northern ranges of the U.S., they should be planted in a protected area and heavily mulched in winter. Boxwoods are happy in most locations and do well in shade or sun.


While Internet nurseries abound, making it possible to select unusual cultivars, it is important to remember your climate, soil, and the amount of sun or shade the shrub will get. Shipping live specimens can also be very costly. You are usually better off shopping locally. Large discount chains and home building stores stock varieties suitable to your local area, and prices are usually competitive. A local nursery or plant shop, while more expensive, may offer more varieties, landscape consulting, and be more knowledgeable about how to care for your shrubs.

Planting and Maintenance

Dig a hole that is at least 1.5 times larger than the plant's rootball. Position the shrub so that the base is covered but plant is not too low in ground. After planting, step on soil all around shrub to be sure there are no air pockets. Water enough to soak to the roots, but do not overwater. Since these shrubs are fairly slow-growing and consistent in size and shape, little to no pruning should be needed.

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