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I'm planning on planting around 500 ft of evergreen hedge in Tennessee, partly in the sun and partly in shade. I talked to a local landscaping company who recommended one of the following:

  • Manhattan Euonymus
    I'm leaning towards Manhattan at the moment, because it's fast growing and doesn't look bad, but I'm concerned because the person at the landscaping place mentioned that the leaves of the ones out in the sun will probably turn a lighter green than the ones in the shade, which would definitely not be what I want. I'd like 500 ft of uniformly colored hedge. She also said that if properly fertilized, the leaves should stay the same color. I'm looking for other opinions!
  • Osmanthus fortunei
    I was considering Osmanthus but was concerned that they get much taller than I want, which might lead to a leggy appearance at the bottom if I shear them at 4 ft tall.

  • American Boxwood
    Boxwood is quite slow growing in comparison to the others, and I'm fairly certain it offers no real benefits to me.

I'd like the hedge to be about 4 feet high at the most, but very thick. I will be putting up a fence behind the hedge, and would like the hedge to cover the fence, and I'm wondering what sort of planting structure I should go for.

I'm planning on planting them 6 ft apart and the Osmanthus/Manhattan plants are already about 3ft tall. Should I plant them all on one side of the fence, or alternate fence sides, or add another set of plants on the other side of the fence?

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Hello and welcome to Gardening & Landscaping. I really like your question and I've made some edits (only to rearrange). There are two primary questions in your post – an opinion on the three choices and one asking for a preferred planting layout to get the best hedge shape. Since the second one seemed to be the primary question (with the choice of plant being secondary – and already narrowed down to 3), I made that reflect in the title. I hope you get a good answer :) –  Lorem Ipsum Jan 13 '12 at 7:15
    
@yoda: I'm leaning very heavily towards the Manhattan, just looking for some confirmation from people here that fertilizer will take care of uniform coloring. Thanks for re-formatting the question! –  Jon Zane Jan 13 '12 at 8:21

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The leaf color of Manhattan Euonymus does keep its color better when fertilized, but you should also expect a larger, more vigorous plant than you would otherwise have. I think that this plant would be a good one for what you are trying to do here.

About the planting layout, if you are looking to cover the entire fence on both sides, then you will definitely want a full row on each side. The reason is that Euonymus are upright plants, and will not want to cascade over the fence and cover the other side. Manhattan grows fast, and if you want a thick hedge, you should head them in several times during their growth periods for the first couple of years.

Also, the way I see this type of project fail most often is from trimming the sides of the hedge either straight down or inward, causing it to become thin from lack of sunlight. Trim the sides sloping outward from the top, away from the center.

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Two questions: What sort of fertilizer would you recommend? And I've been reading an awful lot about Euonymus being notorious for attracting bees and flies, is this something I should be concerned about? I assume its only going to be for a few weeks every year when they're flowering, and maybe I can douse the plants closer to the house with some sort of insecticide to keep it manageable, does this sound reasonable? Thanks for your answer! –  Jon Zane Jan 15 '12 at 13:51
    
A fertilizer for enhancing leaf color should contain a good amount of nitrogen, with some potassium and phosphorous to balance. Nitrogen, with potassium, help with leaf color and plant vigor, and phosphorous builds a good root system. Maybe a balance of 10-8-5 would be best. When the flowers start opening, It would be better to apply a deterrent rather than an insecticide. –  J. Musser Jan 16 '12 at 2:28
    
Thanks! I'm not sure I follow what you mean by "deterrent"? Could you be more specific? –  Jon Zane Jan 16 '12 at 5:18
    
A deterrent would repel the bees from the area rather than killing them, as a pesticide would be. There are many sources for it, so you have to shop around. –  J. Musser Jan 17 '12 at 2:16

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