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In the back of my lot I have about 20 feet thick of woods/brush. This provides some very nice privacy from the house that is on the other side of that brush. However, I have had problems with poison ivy and in general just have had a hard time preventing the woods from creeping into my back yard.

I am considering clearing out the woods, leaving the big trees, and trying to replace it with something that can be maintained a little easier. So, that leads me to my question, what type of plant(s) can provide the type of privacy that you get from the woods without the painful (literally painful with poison ivy) upkeep of brush.

Some details: My lot dips down into a drainage ditch. These woods/brush is currently located on the slope. It is probably about a 10 foot drop over 20 feet. The house on the other side is about the same elevation as me, so the privacy would need to come up about 20 feet (10 for the slope, 10 from my ground level). I am in zone 6B.

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I'm confused by the question. Brush is a generic term for shrubs. Poison Ivy is a specific plant. As for what to plant that would would be low(ish) upkeep, you could consider a variety of evergreen shrubs. –  DA. Jun 2 '12 at 17:41
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@DA. By Brush I mean a mixture of plants that have naturally grown up, like a small forest area. Poison Ivy being one of the many items in this small forest like area. Brush is the term commonly used around here, maybe "woods" is a better term. I have attached pictures that will hopefully explain better. –  Kellenjb Jun 2 '12 at 18:05
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The pictures help! Not much will beat thick undergrowth for privacy, though. Perhaps clearing out the undergrowth will leave room in between the existing trees for some evergreens. That could be one option. –  DA. Jun 2 '12 at 19:03
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As @DA mentioned in a comment, many kinds of evergreen trees will provide good privacy. In particular, white pine grows fast and can be spaced fairly close together to provide privacy.

As another option, I'm working on using beech trees as a sort of privacy hedge based on some articles I had seen about their willingness to be pruned into a hedge shape. The nice thing about beech is that even though they're deciduous, they retain their leaves through the winter.

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Some famous beech hedges: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meikleour_Beech_Hedges –  DA. Jun 4 '12 at 4:39
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