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I have 8ft Leylandii along the outside of most of my west and north facing fences, but there are some gaps on the north side, so I have been using a range of climbing plants inside the fence to provide some privacy, but after seeing some lovely dense cotoneaster covered walls and fences I was wondering whether I should plant them inside the fence at these points.

I live in central Scotland, on clay soil. The fence is a common type - diagonal wood planks with gaps.

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I don't know how big your gaps are, but Leylandii is notorious for crowding other plants out - so you might have problems starting the cotoneaster if the gaps are medium/small. – winwaed Jan 26 '12 at 13:41
@winwaed - thanks - have updated question to say cotoneaster inside the fence. Leylandii outside. – Rory Alsop Jan 26 '12 at 14:49
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have one cotoneaster growing in clay and it is a star performer. The glossy green leaves and bright red berries are a real treat for the eye. The right species can be trained up a fence to 4 or 5' tall and tolerates pruning well

I do agree with Michael Dirr's assessment that the way the branches grow makes it a real catchall for leaves and other debris. If there is anything blowing around your garden in the wind it will end up in the cotoneaster. Otherwise, thumbs up.

As a note to the wise, some cotoneaster species have escaped cultivation in Europe and are now considered to be an invasive weed. Investigate the species offered with care.

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