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Photinia Wind Break

I've got a south-west facing garden wall about 7ft high and even when we're not having record breaking storms, the wind funnels over it, whips through the garden and exits over the fence on the other side. This is becoming a nuisance, so I'm think of planting a row of standard photinia red robins along the inside of the wall and growing them to around 9-10 feet high.

The nursery has suggested a minimum girth of 12cm but that makes it all a bit pricey. Could I get away with 6-8cm trunks or will they just blow over when a strong wind hits the tops?

Thanks for any advice.


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,687
    Personally, I would not choose Photinias for that purpose. They tend not to do well in exposed and cold areas. Unless you seldom get cold wind and frost, it's a risk in my opinion.

    I don't have too much experience on creating a wind break, but choosing shrubs/trees that can withstand extremes tend to be a good starting point. Evergeen shrubs like Elaeagnus x Ebbingei or Cotoneaster Franchettii would more likely do better in your situation. They may be small to start off with, but more likely to settle and then grow tall once established.

    Buying large is also a risk. Not only do they cost a lot more, they are harder to maintain with the constant heavy watering, but they are also going to take a lot longer to settle to a new setting and soil. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,044
    I would agree totally with @Borderline . I can never understand why these are so popular. Unless you have perfect conditions, they often look terrible. Certainly, buying large specimens is always a risk. Getting them established isn't easy.
    I'd also agree with the suggestions. Someone else yesterday was looking for hedging suggestions , and Eleagnus was one I mentioned. I use it here, although almost any hedging plant will do the job.
    I have a mix on my boundary, Pyracantha, Buddleia and Viburnum. I have Ilex  [holly] and Mahonia in the front section with Eleagnus, as well as a hedge.   
    In the situation you have, you could use Hornbeam or Beech, as both can be kept narrow, and pleached. If kept at a reasonable height, they retain their foliage over winter too. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ZedsRedZedsRed Posts: 5
    Thanks for the replies @Borderline and @Fairygirl

    I've had success with photinia before, but as a hedge grown from quite young shrubs, so perhaps not really comparable. I'll have a look at those alternatives and get my thinking cap on!

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