BRING ME A SHRUBBERY! (zone 6A)

Hi all! I am in the beginning stages of researching SHRUBBERY (that is also some type of fruit /nut/edible or useful in some way) to replace what I believe are gold junipers growing around the house. I ordered some apple trees for the spring and I want to minimize risks for Cedar Apple Rust hosts. My preference would be for an evergreen SHRUBBERY or something that remains attractive in winter as the primary purpose is landscaping.
I like the strawberry bushes Raintree Nursery sells, but they say they are only hardy to zone 7. Possibly being up against the house, they may be able to thrive here. Winters haven’t been very cold in recent memory, at least out of the supposed range of zone 7 for more than a night or two.
Other options I’ve seen at forestfarm.com are Gaulnettya wisleyensis “Wisley Pearl” and Vaccinium moupinense “HIMALAYAN BLUEBERRY”, Gaylussacia brachycera ’Berried Treasure™’
BOX HUCKLEBERRY, Wintergreen, flowering Quince, dwarf Myrtle, Mahonia repens, and Whortleberry. I’d also consider lingonberries and I had seen another topic about contorted dwarf “flying dragon” oranges. Does anyone have any other ideas or insights? I need something that can be kept around 3 feet max height under the window but I can go to ~8 ft beside the window.

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I was about to suggest perhaps Evergreen huckleberry aka Vaccinium ovatum but not sure if hardy to your zone. Is that the same as box huckleberry? Berries are forgettable unless you’re a bird. I’ve seen friends try Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, but they looked like hell here in Western Washington. I wonder if the beach plum would work. The Indian plum is nice but probably too tall. The plums are both deciduous though. Blueberries would look good three seasons. Flowering quince is nice but scraggly in off season. Mahonia reptans grows easily here , is evergreen and would be easy to keep at 3 feet. Once again, the raw berries aren’t tasty. Any native local plants that fit the bill?

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You can try some blueberries and currants. A few blueberries are ‘semi-evergreen’.
And some blueberries have twigs that are red or yellow in winter.

Mahonia you covered…and it’s definitely evergreen.

Some of the viburnums are evergreen…but the ones with edible berries are deciduous, so far as I am aware…but I’m open to correction on that point.

Service berries bloom in March…so that gets the end of winter covered.

Taxus (Yew) doesn’t host CAR so far as I know…if you want to replace with evergreen shrubs that you shear. (Even have berries that are edible…if you don’t eat the seeds…which are poisonous).

viburnum opulus or european snowball bush (the ones that aren’t ‘sterile’) can supply fruit…but aren’t evergreen.

Eleganus/various species bear fruit and also are evergreen or semievergreen.

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Highbush cranberries or lingonberries? I don’t know what kind of soil you have.

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@Quill I had looked at evergreen huckleberry but it is in the same boat as strawberry tree at zone 7, so possibly a challenge to keep happy through some winters. I have enjoyed a few good huckleberry brews though! Plums were not on my radar but could be included with a ground over of some sort for winter color. I think blueberries are as close to a native option as I can get for a 3 season plant, and they don’t look terrible in the winter. I just discovered Mahonia reptans today. It seems like a promising option, but I would have to research it a bit more. I’m not opposed to using the fruit in jams etc. if that is the option available.

I’m on the other side of PA from you in 6b/7a. Mahonia is really marginal unless heavily sheltered. I wish it wasn’t, but it is. I doubt a lot of the Raintree mentioned would survive either. Their zone 7 winter is much different than a PA zone 6 winter, more a dip to cold temps than prolonged cold.

I personally wouldn’t put anything fruiting like that as foundation plant. Invitation for bugs and rodents!

I may go this route out of familiarity. My local nursery says soils in our area should be conducive to blueberries. I have jostaberries (currant x gooseberry cross) planted in some other locations already. If I go the currant route, I need to find disease resistant varieties that will not kill my neighbor’s beautiful huge white pines that had red tail hawks nesting in them this past spring. Additionally I could include wintergreen and lingonberry as they should also be happy in acidic-amended soils.

I am considering these as well as spice bush. I don’t necessarily want a monoculture for the area.

There are a couple native viburnum sp that could work. I have begun researching them as well. Arrowwood Viburnum and Northern Wild Raisin are prospects so far.

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Mahonia does seem like a cool option. If anything, I’d probably nestle it in amongst other plants to give it a fighting chance. I bet it could survive if I let it grow large enough prior to keeping it outside all winter, but the only way to find out is to try!

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Keeping mahonia (and many other evergreens) out of full sun on windy days below freezing…that’s the key, it’s not the absolute coldest temps but desiccation that does them in mostly.

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After some quick research, it turns out that Box Huckleberry actually IS a native to Pennsylvania and is a relic of the ice age; typically propagates by cloning itself and is extremely rare. According to the Wikipedia article, the patch found in Pennsylvania may be the oldest woody vegetation east of the Rocky Mountains, somewhere between 8, 000-13,000 years old! The more you know, right?

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See ‘Monty Python and the Search For the Holy Grail’
Sorry, my wife was in close contact with active covid 2 days ago. If I don’t laugh I’ll cry.

@Chikn that bit may or may not be the inspiration for my topic title and the extra emphasis placed on the SHRUBBERY! Good luck with the Covid exposure, try to keep a positive attitude with everything! There have been many advances in our knowledge of the disease and how to effectively manage the symptoms since the beginning of the pandemic. Here’s to hoping for a swift recovery for you and yours (or a negative test result!)

Thanks!

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I would not attempt food production in the hell-zone around the foundation. Could work if you had deep (5ft+ beds).

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/Plants/search.php
This site lets you search woody plants by zone, height, evergreen/deciduous, native/non-native, ornamental traits, fruit…

Here are some suggestions - mostly deciduous

I love my Cayuga viburnum.
image
I planted a 1.5ft bush in 2018, it is now 3.5 ft tall and as wide. It is a handsome, dense shrub but the most amazing thing is the wonderful scent of the flowers. It has good fall color and there are berries in winter for the birds if you plant male and female plants. Hardy to Zone 5.
Cayuga viburnum | The Morton Arboretum.
A related cultivar “Compactum” only reaches 3 ft. Some Asian viburnums are invasive.

You might also consider a short evergreen Rhododenron/azalea - e.g., Yagu Prince, hardy to zone 4

On the native side:
NJ Tea Ceanothus americanus might work, although mine look disheveled.
Ninebark is an attractive plant
The evergreen Inkberry (Ilex glabra) - ‘Compacta’ 4 ft x 6 ft; ‘Chamzin’ 3 ft x 4 ft.
Mid-Atlantic native viburnums: Arrowwood (V. dentatum), possumhaw (V. nudum), mapleleaf viburnum (V. acerifolium). Native viburnums aren’t fragrant.
Shrubby St. John’s Wort Hypericum prolificum
Labrador Tea Ledum groenlandicum
Northern Bayberry Myrica pensylvanica

Good luck!

I needed a hedge and used Cornus mas. It took 6 years but is looking fantastic. As long as you head low branches to branch more, the low branches stay on the tree. For fruiting shrubs The service berries as mentioned. I also have a contorted quince and it has winter interest with the twisted branching. Slow growing and remains small. Honeyberries look weak in the hot summer and not much of a fall color, but form a nice round ball in the spring. Not all and some time is needed.

I don’t think mine are that deep (as in edge of the bed 5ft from the foundation) but I’m not opposed to adjusting that depth and putting a root barrier around the trees or against the foundation for protection etc. I have a mini excavator at my disposal from work that I plan to pull out the old veg with anyway. Doing some additional digging and fluffing won’t be a problem.

I will check this out! If it’s what I think it is, I want to build a similar site specifically for pawpaws and persimmon varieties!

I am still considering a few viburnums. Anything I pick needs to either 1. produce food for me 2. be pollinator friendly 3. produce food for wildlife to keep the birds away from my other food plants 4. look reasonably like a landscaping specimen at least half of the year, or a combination of the above.

I looked at this one on Edible Landscaping’s website. I do want something I would only have to “prune” once or twice a year to keep reasonable.

That will be fun. You could put the persimmons between the windows…get your own permaculture bed going. Paw paws grow REALLY slow - at least for me - mine are going on 11, are a scraggly 4 ft tall and produced flowers for the first time this year.

Richard Darke (Tallamy and Darke, The Living Landscape) replaced his foundation yew hedge with this…not human edible, but the wildlife like it.

Here’s a 4ft evergreen native, hardy to zone 5 - pretty but poisonous

Also blueberries - pretty, not poisonous. Suggest bird net - more fruit = more birds.

Happy designing, send pictures when it’s done.

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Alright folks, after some additional time on the forum and the VERY helpful information you have all provided on this thread, I have ordered the following which I intend to plant along the border of our house for 2021:

Eastern side /front yard bed:
-Flowering Quince (will extend the bed and maintain at a 8-10ft height), multiple cultivars ordered. Not year round color but very early blooms.
-Multiple blueberry cultivars (will plan to maintain pH at or below 6 with proper nutrition for these as the “pack mules” of the bed); The red woody vegetation during winter will add color to the landscape.
-Gaylussacia brachycera “Box Huckleberry” as a native evergreen groundcover
-Amelanchier alnifolia “Saskatoon Serviceberry” A shrubby western native that should be easy to maintain at a low height and produce berries for baking or freezing (if I get any before the birds!)

Northern shaded (least visible) bed:
-Aronia Berry (eastern native, healthy smoothie/juice addition)
-Haskap (honeyberries) (northern PA native, should be happy with shade and produce early summer/late spring fruit)
-Currants (disease resistant black and reds, will tolerate shade)
-More Saskatoons (should tolerate shade based on native environment)
-Jostaberry (trialing, may move to more sun but high disease resistance so may just fruit lightly in shade)
-seedling raspberry from a smoothie (corner of the house, gets more sun)
-American ginseng (trying to plant some seedlings, amending soil with gypsum for high calcium to make them happy)
-Elderberry (I’ve collected native cuttings at work)

Western bed (below foundation) of garage and along driveway, less concern with foundation issues and can allow taller vegetation because there is more height to solar panel shading available.
-Pawpaws (various grafted cultivars)
-Weeping Mulberry (Morus alba) training to 8 ft
-Possible tip bearing apple cultivar frankentree
-Gooseberry (multiple, plays nice with pawpaw and mulberry)

South facing bed is SMALL (unfortunately)
-Jujube (SO, Sugar Cane, Honey Jar)

I have lots of apple bench grafts and will have extra flowering Quince that I plan to train to espalier along our future fence line as an outer SHRUBBERY wall. I don’t know if pawpaw or persimmon would take kindly to espalier training, but if anyone has had success with either, please let me know! I will be growing a lot of both and if I can get them wrangled up somehow while knowing better than to plant them too close together (I know pawpaw is more forgiving and will dwarf itself planted close), that would be another step in the process.

For 2022, I’ll likely fill in some gaps in the north bed with Viburnum trilobum (Highbush Cranberry Viburnum) and anything else I discover that might fit in various places.

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You’re off to a great start.
I need to get 20
viburnum trilobum planted tomorrow ('Andrews cultivar)…I’ve had them a week.

And have over 100 apple rootstocks waiting on me. :confused: