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Old 01-02-2006, 10:17 AM
mark goldschmidt mark goldschmidt is offline
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Default Query on Hedge Plants

I would very much like to hear others' experience using natives for hedge plants. In the kind of urban/suburban situation most of us live in, hedging and screening are critically important for creating our own private sanctuary in a crowded environment.

I have had great success in my own garden with Lavatera bicolor, which I assumed was a native, but I see in Perry that it is in fact from Southern France. Has anyone tried using the native lavatera for hedging? It looks quite siminlar to the bicolor in photos.

I'm interested in using Rhus spp. for hedging -- R. integrifolia (lemonade berry) and/or Rhus ovata (Sugar bush). Has anyone had any experience with using these plants as clipped or loose hedge? How fast do they grow?

Would appreciate if if anyone could tell me about growing Garrya elliptica, a lovely plant that I've only seen in botanic gardens and in the wild. The James Roof selection is quite lovely, what about growing it in captivity or grouping it as a screening plant? Will it work in Southern California (San Gabriel valley foothills)?
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:56 PM
Scott S Scott S is offline
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Hi Mark,
I had a L. bicolor, but it proved to be too big for the spot I had it in. Lavatera assurgentifolia is the native form, but it might be too large as a hedge for a typical suburban lot. I took out a specimen in my backyard that was 4' high and 15' wide. I have another L. assurgentifolia in my front yard that seems to work for me as a large groundcover. As a bonus, it hides some of the leaf litter from the Magnolia street tree.

You might consider using Prunus ilicifolia as an informal hedge. I have been growing P. ilicifolia with Comarostaphyllis diversifolia to screen the neighbors house. The former seems to be more columnar than the latter. They are both easy to grow and maintain.

Loamy Clay Soil, full sun, southwest facing slope, no irrigation (maybe once or twice in July)
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:11 PM
Scott S Scott S is offline
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I was rereading your query about using Rhus integrifolia for a hedge, and I remembered Santa Barbara Botanic Garden has had one growing outside their gift shop for years. You might call them for info.
I believe this shrub is pretty tough and can take a little or alot of water. We had some containers mixed in with other shrubs on a hydroseeded slope for the city of Long Beach and they were about the only shrub that survived.
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Old 01-27-2006, 01:50 AM
Steven Goetz Steven Goetz is offline
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Default Suggestions for Hedges/Screen Plants

I live in the Bay Area. The following plants I have grown in the gardens of the homes where I have lived. They should grow well, if not better for you in S. Cal.

Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn'. Classy manzanita with file green leaves, to seven feet. This makes a gorgeous hedge.

Rhamnus californica (Coffee Berry). Lush evergreen leaves and dark brown/black berries, with wine-red stems. Can get very tall. Takes sprinkler irrigation.

Ceanothus Thyrsiflorus "Snow Flurry" should do well for you. Its short lived, but quickly grows to 10' with bright green leaves year round and while blossom briefly in the spring.

Dendromecon hartfordii and Dendromecon rigida come from the Channel Islands. Bushy, leathery, clean grey-green leaves with near continuous yellow poppy flowers. Grey trunk. Can take pruning. These are among my favorite natives. Slow growing. I haven't grown them as a hedge because they are rare to find in nurseries up here. I do grow them as specimen plants.

Fremontodendron californicum (Flannel Bush). Dull green foliage with profusion of gold flowers nearly year round. Very fast growing but shortlived like the ceanothus. Give it space. The seed capsules and leaf-fuzz are very irritating to the skin and painful to the eye. You wouldn't dare trim it. Bees love it.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon). Dark green lush folliage year round, white blossoms in late spring followed by berries in fall. Can take pruning. Hollywood was named after this plant. Birds love it. I get many volunteers spouting around these plant.

I just planted a Garreya elliptica last year. Its very small so I can't say much about it.

You can easily see these at Rancho Santa Ana botanic garden in Claremont.
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Old 01-27-2006, 02:28 PM
Bob Hansen Bob Hansen is offline
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Default Rhus integrifolia


I have seen R. integrifolia used successfully as a hedge in two places: along the central Calif. coast in a rather cool climate setting, and on my property in the Sierra Nevada foothills where summers are hot and dry (probably not unlike the lower elevations of the San Gabriels). The plant does well under those diverse conditions and seems quite hardy. Its growth habit is much denser compared to Rhus ovata (which I grow as well), and as such, seems to be a superior choice for hedge use.


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Old 02-19-2006, 12:30 PM
SueH SueH is offline
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Default native plant for a clipped hedge


This may not be a popular suggestion, but one that works beautifully. How about a hedge of our native coyote bush, Baccharis pilularis. It can be clipped to a formal hedge with ease, and will conform to any shape you wish. It can even be cut to the ground and then come back, according to Judith Lowry, author of Gardening with a Wild Heart. I use it in my front yard because we are part of a homeowners' association and people are picky about neatness in our neighborhood.

The difficult part about my suggestion is finding bushes (not groundcover, which is easier to purchase). I have tried to order from native plant nurseries, but they try to discourage me by calling coyote bushes a "fire ladder". Yes, if left to it's own devices, it may have some dead wood that could possibly catch on fire, but that wouldn't be the case in a well-tended garden. Your best bet would be to find someone who does not want bushes on their property and offer to dig them up. I transplanted three very large bushes in 99 degree weather, and they made it! They are tough.

Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2006, 11:57 AM
RSA Botanic Garden RSA Botanic Garden is offline
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Default Hedges

Dear Mark,

I have used Lavatera assurgentiflora and Lavatera 'Purisima' as a screen in my garden in So. Pasadena. I like the flowers on Purisima more and it looks better than the staight species (which in fact I have since removed). Purisima grows extremely fast and I am told it is short-lived. I have used it to block the view of my composite heap, which it accomplished in less than a year from a 1 g. It is about 5.5 ft. tall and wider. I have also seen this plant used almost as a small tree (the lower stem was trimmed up). It is loved by rabbits, so if you have them it may not be for you!

Mahonias make great screens/hedges. I like Berberis [Mahonia] nevinii very much (saw it in a front yard near Glendale). It can be kept in a fairly narrow space. Mahonia 'Golden Abundance' and 'Skylark' are both very nice too.

The Rhuses probably work but they get so large that it may be a heavy pruning job.

I also saw Baccharis 'Centenniel' sheared into a low hedge (in Long Beach). This is the female and it does get the fuzzy and messy white flowers.

Check the new book by Bornstein, Fross and O'Brien for a list of hedge plants in the back.

Barbara Eisenstein (RSABG Hort Outreach)
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:52 PM
Dan Dan is offline
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Location: El Toro, Southern California
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Default hedge/screen natives

I Really appreciate Steve's reply although northern in its inspiration most should do well down here. One of my favorite plants that can be used as a hedge is Rhamnus Cal.-California Coffeebery. Sun/shade, various soils and amounts of water or dryness. very versitile. Several cultivars to chose from depending upon how tall you wish it to be. My favorite right now is 'Leatherleaf' which has an unusually dark leaf along with a nice compact habit. 4-6 feet tall and wide or so.
Of course 'Eve Case' is bright green and taller (and faster). Check out the Coffeeberries.
Of course Barbara's comments are good as well and the rec to use the new book is a good reminder.
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:34 PM
EarthMonkey EarthMonkey is offline
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You might try mountain Mahogany I planted one five years ago and only watered it the first year and it has reached eight ft, its evergreen and sends branches the whole way up.
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