Hedges - for Privacy and Sound Barrier

MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZOctober 26, 2005

Hi Folks,

I'm looking for suggestions - I just can't seem to decide what to plant. We have 150' of butt-ugly chain link fence to cover. All in full sun through summer. The fence is only about 5' tall and we would like the hedge to go up to 6' or even 8'. Along the western side, that neighbor has a pool and I'm sure he would appreciate something that does not cause him issues. This is also the side that brings in traffic noise from 43rd Avenue. There's an alley along the longest (northerly) side, other (east-ish) neighbor has a backyard lot of junk cars. Ugh! The sound barrier is only really needed on the western side, the other two sides could be a less dense type of hedge.

Of course, we do not have to plant the same thing on all three sides, can mix it up a bit. Have considered oleander, cat claw, queen's wreath, roses, roses, roses. Can't decide. Please help. :-))



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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

-Tecoma - Yellow bells or Orange Jubilee

-If you're going to do roses, seems that Tombstone might do nicely.

-Bougainvillea - loves the sun, low water use, but keep it away from your neighbor's pool - too trashy.

-Dare I say it? Another trashy one, oleander. Not my favorite, lemme tell ya. Ooops - you already said that. It's more pain than pleasure in my eyes.

-Hopbush - green or purple. very drought tolerant, very green. The purple is a little frost tender, as are the Tecomas (above).

-Pyracantha can be trimmed into a hedge like thing.

I'm trying the easter egg Emu bush - Eremophila racemosa right now - I'm just not sure if it's all that fast growing or if it can handle my flood irrigation or not.

Good luck, HTH!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 5:49PM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

There's always privets. They can make a nice green tall hedge and not too messy. I detest the smell of the flowers but most people don't mind it.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 7:12PM
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I like the looks of Myrtle, Myrtus communis. Have seen great hedges of it in Phoenix. It can take full sun, is hardy, and tolerates heat. Good for screening, and also smells nice.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 7:37PM
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Myrtle would be a great choice for a low hedge, but if you want something in the 6'-8' range your easiest choice would be oleander. Another choice would be a fast-growing citrus such as a lemon tree. They take hedging fairly well and will still produce a lot of lemons. But to be quite honest I'd still go with the oleander-it's tough, fast growing, evergreen, thick, blooms, doesn't take much water and cheep. The white variety seems to grow the fastest followed by the dark pink. Plant 1 gallon plants right now and you should have 6 foot high plants by the middle of next summer. They don't have to have a lot of water, but will grow like made if it's available.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 5:14AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thanks so much for all the ideas. Will probably do the oleander for the noise barrier side. Tombstone roses for the long alley side. Need to deter the concept of jumping my fence from the alley, which someone recently did after abandoning a stolen car nearby. The Nerve! Police caught him IN OUR YARD trying to get in the back door.

When I Googled privet I found this neat idea of planting some grass in front of the hedge. Check the link. Neat huh?


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 8:49AM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Mmm - that is cool looking.

I'm not trying to change your mind on the oleander, but you should know that you are going to have a fairly messy plant on your hands. They drop a lot of leaves & a fair amount of blooms. You'll also have to work at the shaping if you're watering for growth. I'd also go and stick my hand in a bush of your neighbors or something - some people have a minor but uncomfortable allergic reaction to them. Final caveat - every piece of them is poisonous and you cannot dispose of any part of the plant by burning it - the smoke is poisonous also.

HTH, good luck!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 10:33AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I'm not going to be as nice as PC; FORGET THE OLEANDERS!!! They are the godawfullest plant around; if you want to see just how obnoxious they are, give me a ring and come over. Some plants are messy in spring, some plants are messy in fall. Oleanders are messy all year long; week in and week out. Every time I cut them back, I end up with a rash, scrapes and cuts, and dirt and leaves all in my hair. Yuck.

You've got some great suggestions here: the Lady Banks Rose (Tombstone) will make a hedge that is incredibly thick, high and wide - and is gorgeous in spring. A regular trim will keep it in shape and it is not messy.

Susie's Orange Jubilee would make a believer out of anyone looking for a gorgeous, tall 'hedge' and the myrtle is in many yards in my neighborhood where people want a privacy hedge.

One word of caution, though; vegetation does little to buffer noise. It does trap some of the dirt and soot from road traffic, but studies I've seen debunk the noise abatement theory.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 10:36PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

I hear you folks about the oleander and I understand the points you are making. On the Lady Banks, will it grow 2 or three feet above the top of the fence without my adding some type of trellis? Orange Jubilee (aka Tecoma?) the images I found of that plant, it looks more like a tree. Can it be shaped into a hedge? Likewise with the myrtle. It's a bit tree-like looking.

I have contacted an arborist and he's coming to see us this afternoon. He will help us with tree decisions and maybe he can advise on this hedge issue.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 8:15AM
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Easygoing(Sunset zone 13)


Lady banks will devour the fence, and shoot just as high and wide as you will let it go. It doesn't have ot have support, all the way up, but the higher you put the support, the higher it's going to climb before it starts bending over and cascading downward. My only complaint with lady banks is it is very messy during the spring as the spent blooms fall off, I don't know if that would cause issues with your neighbors pool or not.

You know what I was thinkging...what about the taller growing Hibiscus, seems they would make a nice barrier, and provide you with some beautiful blooms.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 9:51AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Thank you Alna ;-)

That's a good tip about the Lady Banks and when it cascades down, it sounds like it will cascade to the OTHER side of the fence. ie: grows UP one side and DOWN the other???? Well, that really won't work. Now the Hibiscus, THAT is a great idea. I love those blooms and a Hibiscus flower was my logo when I had a business in Hawaii. Good idea Alan.

Mayr (that's how I ususally misspell my name)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 10:35AM
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We have pyracantha, lady banks, green hopseed, and a yellow flowered vine who's name escapes me now. The only one that grows fast and covers a big space is hopseed. The only mess it makes is from the female plant 1/year when it blooms and drops them all over the place. The lady banks grows reallyfast and long. It s not really hard to trim it to keep the tendrils on your side. You can kind of pull them back over to your side of the fence and tuck them in sideways to spread it out, or just cut them. Very forgiving in whatever you do to it. There is a yellow and a white, it sounds like you have room to try a lot of things. Oh yes, re: roses, remember that they drop their leaves in the winter so there would be some open space for a couple of months.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 11:29AM
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judy_b(AZ zone 9)

Remember that the largest rose in the world is a Lady Banks. ;-) One plant can eventually COVER a quarter acre. That's about 10,000 square feet. It does take a few years (100 or so)It is a fairly easy plant to cope with, though, as it is thornless. The one on the fence between us and our neighbor is about 12 feet tall growing on a 5 foot fence. Our sheep eat up as far as they can reach or it would be solid down to the ground on our side. The neighbors have a lattice of large beams set up to hold it up where they want to walk under it. It's been in that location for 15 or so years.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2005 at 4:05PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

Thornless Lady Banks?? I wouldn't want to try climbing through the ones I planted! I'm not sure if all the plant has thorns or just the suckers that spring up, but I've come out of there more than once looking like I just crawled through some barbed wire! I think Lady Banks makes a great deterrent to intruders.

BTW, if anyone doubts what Judy B says about the coverage of LB, take a trip to Tombstone in spring. Or, for a closer look-see, drop in at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum to see the yellow one there that is at least 30' up the trees. It is gorgeous when it blooms.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 9:57AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Does Lady Banks drop its leaves in winter and leave open space?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 10:00AM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

No, Mary, Lady Banks is evergreen; never stops growing and if allowed to do its thing, will grow way up as Alan said and cascade over. Takes on a beautiful shape. If, however, you want a manicured look, it can be shaped into a hedge. There's one at Baker's that is as square as a trimmed privet hedge.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 11:46AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

OK, so you all have convinced me to do the Lady Banks on the long side that runs along the alley. (I really hope they are thorny!!) That's probably 80' to 100'. Let's assume I buy one gallon Lady Banks (is this a reliable assumption? Do I need to go up to 5 gallons each plant?....doubt it but ask the wizards.) how far apart do I space them?

This is a great thread and all of your inputs have really helped me make some decisions. Thanks tons and tons.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 1:52PM
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tomatofreak(Z9 Phx USA)

I bought the one-gallon plants, Mary, and spaced them out about five feet apart. They grow fast, but it will take them a while to top the fence. Maybe someone else can say if a larger plant will get the job done faster. I predict you will love these plants!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 6:48PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Freaky-Tom - the one gallons will probably be fine, as in: should fit my budget. Hubby told me today that the alley side of the fence is 160', just by itself. Remember, I thought the entire fence line was 150'. So that's a lotta fence to cover. We visited Summer Winds nursery today and all the Lady Banks were thornless so maybe you're right, they are thorny when first sprouting their branches. Could it be you have something other than Lady Banks???

We bought a 24" box Shamel Ash (fraxinus uhdei) from the nursery. Am very excited. It was a very good price ($119) and looks like a very nice tree. Will probaby put it in the front.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 7:49PM
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