Government of New Brunswick

Agdex No. 276.36

The choice of hedge plants should be determined by the location, soil conditions, size of garden and the effect to be created by the hedge. Carefully choosing the plant that best suits these criteria leads to the development of a suitable, attractive hedge for the garden. Most hedges require pruning or shearing for proper maintenance for more information refer to New Brunswick Department of Agriculture Publications 'Pruning Shrubs, Pruning Trees'.

The following are profiles of hedging plants that can be grown successfully in New Brunswick gardens. The bracketed number is the usual mature height desired for a hedge of that species and a + symbol indicates trees that can grow very large if not kept under control.


  • Caragana arborescens (Siberian Pea Shrub) zone 2 (2-2.6m) This tree with its fine bright green foliage makes an excellent fast growing windbreak and is well adapted to drought conditions and most soils but is prone to leaf hopper attack. It should be trimmed in late June to early July.
  • Cornus stolonifera (Red Osier Dogwood) zone 2 (2.1m) This shrub makes an attractive informal hedge and its colourful red wood adds winter colour to the landscape.
  • Cotoneaster acutifolius (Peking Cotoneaster) zone 5 (1-2m) The evergreen leaves, spring bloom and black fruit make this informal hedge interesting in many seasons.
  • Hydrangea spp. (Hydrangeas) zone 2b-4 (1.2-1.8m) Elegant large white flower heads are produced in August and persist until frost on an informal Hydrangea hedge. Pruning time for these shrubs is early spring.
  • Larix decidua (European Larch) zone 2b (1.5-2m) This larch is a fast growing conifer having soft textured foliage with a bright blue green colour especially in early spring, and an attractive yellow fall colour. Larches make good formal hedges and are best sheared in late June to early July.
  • Ligustrum vulgare (Common Privet) zone 5b (lm) Privet is a good choice for a low formal hedge as it grows rapidly over a long season and stands trimming well. The tough stiff growth of the privet withstands heavy snow loads and can be cut back severely to promote new growth.
  • Philadelphus coronarius (Sweet Mock Orange) zone 3 (1-2m) Mock Orange makes an attractive informal hedge with its creamy white flowers and lovely fragrance.
  • Physocarpus opulifolius 'Luteus' (Golden Ninebark) zone 2b (1.5m) This hardy informal hedge has bright yellow leaves fading to nearly green in summer and has white or pinkish flowers in spring.
  • Quercus imbricaria (Shingle oak) zone 4b (2-3m) The shingle oak makes the best tall hedge of any oak. Its foliage is non-lobed, bright green, glossy, leathery and persists on the tree well into winter.
  • Ribes alpinum (Alpine Currant) zone 2 (1.5m) These plants develop a very good low deciduous hedge with dense compact appearance and grow well in sun or shade.
  • Rhus typhina (Staghorn Sumac) zone 3 (2-3m) The sumac is a good plant for an informal screen with its finely dissected foliage that turns to vivid shades of orange and red in the fall. Cone-shaped crimson fruit clusters persist for an attractive winter display.
  • Rosa spp. (Shrub Roses) zone 2 (1-3m) With their colourful flowers and attractive foliage, shrub roses make and effective flowering hedge especially varieties that bloom all season such as 'Grootendorst'.
  • Salix purpurea 'Gracilis' (Arctic Willow) zone 2b (lm) The narrow gray-green foliage and contrasting red stems make this low growing hedge interesting both winter and summer. Willows are well adapted to moist conditions and can be cut back hard to stimulate new growth and maintain the appropriate height.
  • Shepherdia argentea (Silvery Buffaloberry) zone 1 (4m) A good formal hedge can be developed from this large shrub. The silver foliage and scarlet berries provide a good contrast in the fall.
  • Spirea vanhouttei (Bridalwreath spirea) zone 3 (2m) This elegant vase shaped shrub makes a good formal or informal arching hedge that is covered with graceful flower clusters in early June. This plant should be pruned after it is finished blooming.
  • Syringa spp. (Lilac) zone 2 (2-3m) An informal lilac hedge provides fragrant spring bloom with flowers in various shaded of pink, purple and white. Lilacs are best pruned after bloom.



  • Picea glauca* (White Spruce) zone 2 (1.5-2.5m) White spruce is a slow growing plant that will develop into a good permanent hedge that withstands clipping well.
  • Picea pungens* (Blue Spruce) zone 2 (1.5-2.5m) A formal hedge with an elegant blue colour can be achieved by choosing blue spruce seedlings with a similar colour or using a specific variety (e.g. 'Kosters'). This type of hedge should have only the current season's growth trimmed.
  • Pinus strobus* (White Pine) zone 3 (1.5-2.5m) This pine makes a good background hedge with its soft textured look.
  • Pinus resinosa* (Red Pine) zone 2 (1.5-2.5m) A good hedge plant on dry sandy soil.
  • Pinus mugo (Mountain Pine) zone 1 (2-3m spread, 1m height) The compact globular shape of this pine makes it ideal for a low formal hedge.
  • Pinus nigra* (Austrian Pine) zone 4 (2-3m) Austrian pine is good for use as a tall coarse informal hedge.
  • Taxus cuspidata* (Japanese Yew) zone 4 (1-2m) This dark green dense plant make an excellent formal that withstands clipping well.
  • Thuja occidentalis* (White cedar, Arborvitae) zone 3 (1.5-2.5m) The white cedar is the most frequently used hedge plant in New Brunswick due to its ability to withstand diverse soil and water conditions. Many varieties are available varying from dark green to gold.
  • Tsuga canadensis* (Hemlock) zone 4 (1.5-2.5m) A slow growing plant, the hemlock will develop into an excellent dense hedge with attractive colour and texture and adapted to moist and shaded conditions.

For further information about growing Hedges see New Brunswick Dept. of Agriculture Publication 'Hedges'