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05-08-2023

How to Conceal an AC Unit, Road or Fence with Native Evergreens

Do you have something to hide? Perhaps a fence to draw attention away from, or a need to conceal an AC? A native evergreen may be just what you need! It’s leaf season and with most of the leaves now fallen off of the deciduous trees and shrubs in our landscapes we may be seeing or hearing things that we’d prefer to be kept hidden or at least partially concealed. Of course, I am talking about the air-conditioning unit, rain barrel, neighboring road, fence or yard that is just a bit too visible at this time of year. This is when a smart selection of native evergreen trees or shrubs can be planted to do double or even triple duty – the value of evergreen plants goes well beyond their ability to conceal an unsightly utility or neighbor’s shed. They also prevent stormwater runoff, provide much-needed shade and most of them are valuable plants to pollinators and our local fauna, especially over-wintering birds. If you’re in need of a taller plant to provide four season interest, you can choose from American holly (Ilex opaca), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniper virginiana), Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and a variety of Pine (Pinus sp). Where there is a need fora shorter plant, Inkberry (Ilex glabra) and its cultivar ‘Shamrock’ can be used. A taller shrub, Southern Bayberry (Morella cerifera) provides berries to the beautiful Cedar-waxwing and other birds. Trees and shrubs can be planted well into winter, as long as the ground is not frozen. What better way to prepare for the holidays than by browsing the Direct Native Plants site and selecting some evergreen native plants for yourself or a friend. They’ll quickly be sent to your home and once they arrive, you’ll have a lovely, lasting gift that you won’t want to hide.


Alison Milligan Maryland Mstr. Gardener/Mstr. Naturalist/Mstr. Watershed Steward Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional (CBLP) Alison Milligan is a full-time volunteer who dedicates her time to educating and engaging with residents and communities across Maryland. She helps them to create beautiful landscapes, protect our waterways and create habitat for local fauna using native plants.

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