Shading a western wall

xillOctober 24, 2012

Hi all! Now that planting season is upon us, I'm ready to plant some small trees/large shrubs along the western wall of my house in an attempt to keep my living room windows and walls from getting so hot in the summers to come. Here's what I'm looking for:

1) I'd like to be able to plant it no further than 5 feet from the wall, 3ft would be better if possible (to help maximize the patio space)

2) I'd like the trees/shrubs to grow no taller than 20ft, or at the very least they should respond well to pruning so I can keep them this size. Width isn't as much of a concern, especially if their canopies are above my head anyhow

3) They should give fairly dense shade. Shoestring Acacias are just too darn transparent I think

4) They have to be able to withstand reflected heat (obviously)

5) evergreen or deciduous, I don't care as long as it provides dense shade during the summer months

6) Can't be deadly. I have small children, so Oleanders and Thevetia is out

7) No bougainvilleas, I must have 20 of them already lol

8) I'd prefer fast-growing, it'll be summer again before ya know it!

The plants I've sort of narrowed down to are (in no particular order):

1) Orange Jubilee (Tecoma Stans)

2) Lysiloma

3) Arabian Lilac (Vitex Trifolia)

4) Pink Dawn Chitalpa

5) Figs (Black Mission, White Kadota, etc)

6) Sweet Acacia

Does anyone have any experience with these plants against a hot western-facing stucco or brick wall? Are there better recommendations available? I'd like a few different plants that can thrive on the same watering schedule so the entire area can be dripped on the same zone.

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frozenjoe(9 Arizona)

I have several figs growing along a south facing wall of my house and also a west facing wooden fence. Some varieties seem to handle the heat a little better than others. If you want a fast growing variety for shade that handles the heat well you might want to consider LSU Purple.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:52AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Lady Banks roses sound just right, I'll see if I can find a picture or two of my 150' long hedge that covers an ugly chain link fence along the alley....brb.....

Here's a pic from April 2010 - we're very happy with the way this hedge grew in, we planted 30 one-gallon plants, one every 5', in the fall of 2006 I think and had good cover in a year.

This isn't the best picture as it was not taken for the purpose of capturing the hedge, but you should get an idea of how well that plant will do. Lady Banks are *supposed* to be thornless and most of mine are, but a few do have thorns so you should check each plant before purchase.

Hope this helps and good luck with your decision!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:13AM
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Thanks for the info Joe, I'll have to look into the LSU Purple variety. I had never heard of that one.

Mary- how well can the lady banks be pruned? I had considered a trellis with a vine or two for a section of the wall, but will Lady Banks get too big? For a trellis 15ft tall by 10ft wide?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 11:57AM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

You can prune the cwap out of them but they *do* get bushy thick. We have to keep the alley side trimmed or the garbage truck driver complains. I'll try and get a better picture for you later today of how it looks untrimmed and the alley side, trimmed.

It might be too heavy for a trellis, really needs solid support.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

There's lots of vines, I won't recommend the ones that actually grow on your house. But there are both evergreen and deciduous, some with flowers, some downright showy. My top 4 -

Passiflora spp - they can get huge, but are fairly light weight. If you do those, you should probably get a few because the Gulf Frittilary butterfly uses them exclusively to lay their eggs on. The resulting caterpillars can denude the vine if there's too many. But it really is a magical sight to see all these butterflies on these really cool blooms - I never had a problem, only other people, lol.

Bower vine - One of the few evergreen vines, needs pretty consistent moisture, pretty white blooms with pink throats.

Antigonon leptopus - aka Queen's Wreath. Will definitely get cut back by cold weather, but comes roaring back in spring. Sprays of small rose colored blooms, heat and drought tolerant.

Hardenbergia violacea Gorgeous purple sprays of flowers in spring, nice dark green, lance shaped leaves. Can take a fair amount of drought, needs support.

Funny, we used to have a vine entry under the FAQs, but I don't see it now.

Oh, and what you had in your first post (that I can remember, lol...)
- Lysiloma - one of my favorite trees - soft and ferny. When the leaves drop they disappear really quickly because they're so small. I'd definitely put gravel under them, they do re-seed a lot and it makes them easier to yank or shovel prune.

-Acacia smallii - Sweet acacia - the scent of their blooms in early spring always reminds me of candy. My only issue with them is in pedestrian areas, they can be thorny. AZTrees says they grow fast. Both they and the Lysiloma are quite drought and heat tolerant. Think parking lot, lol.

You mentioned Tecoma - it sounds like some folks have had some bug issues with them, not sure if it's a big enough problem to avoid them all together, but I'd check it out first.

Dondanea viscosa- Hop bushes are really neat plants, but I'm not sure they get tall enough for you.

As to plants being poisonous... well, many of them are, especially in large doses. The nice thing about it is many of the poisonous plants - oleander, tomato plants and Brugmansia/Datura come to mind - also have leaves that smell pretty awful and don't typically attract browsing pedi-lets or animals.

I think this is the longest post I've ever made! Whew!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:01PM
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MaryMcP Zone 8b - Phx AZ

Lots of great info pagancat, thanks for the post. And all that bold! I didn't realize vines were in the equation and like your selection, especially the bower vine - love that one.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Pagancat(Phoenix, AZ)

Yeah, I picked up a little pint sized one from Lowe's,earlier this summer, it's doing great. Keeps wanting to bloom on me, I keep pinchin' that puppy back...

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 5:11PM
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