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Deciduous trees clipped into hedges have a very different look than evergreens and can fulfill a slightly different purpose. They all flower and bear fruit or nuts which is a decorative advantage. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and other insects, and many of the fruits can be eaten by birds. The leaves will change color in the fall, brightening the landscape, and after they shed their leaves, the bark is visible. The European beech and sometimes the hornbeam are the exceptions, and do not lose their leaves in the fall, but hold onto them through the winter. Deciduous hedges, except for the beech and hornbeam, do not give the same solid screening year round as the evergreens do. They are beautiful, though, and if a privacy screen is not necessary or desirable, deciduous hedges are an excellent choice.
These are all relatively large-textured hedges. The viburnum and magnolia, with their sizable leaves and flowers, would work well as informal hedges with a more relaxed shape. The hornbeam, beech, and cornelian cherry with smaller leaves, can be clipped more closely, making a straighter, more even hedge.
The viburnum, magnolia, and cornelian cherry all have visible flowers and fruit which are ornamental in the spring and summer. The maple, hornbeam, and beech have insignificant flowers, but they do produce nuts in the fall.
And finally, there are the fall colors. The Amur maple displays brilliant reds and oranges, the beech leaves turn a coppery color, and the cornelian cherry, magnolia, and hornbeam leaves take on a soft yellow color in the fall.
If you’re looking for an interesting hedge that is colorful and attracts wildlife, then, a deciduous hedge would be a good choice.