Catalina Ironwood?

jubilanteFebruary 2, 2013

I saw a Catalina Ironwood at a local nursery last October. I wasn't sure at the time, but now think it might be a good choice for my "kinda out of sight driveway strip that is too big to just ignore" space. I think it is about 25X40 with no structures nearby except a fence.
I orginally was going to go with an Afterdark agonis(or 2)as the tree, but after some of our very chilly nights, I think I'd lose them.

Any thoughts on companion, low water, easy to maintain, plantings to round out the space?

Shrubs? Grasses? Speaking of which, is it just me or does the foliage of the ironwood kinda look like...well, you know. :)

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I had one for about 5 years before it died. The property was rented and no one was paying attention. It grew straight up without any real branching to about 20 feet, before dying. The leaf structure was interesting. The site was largely shaded on the edge of the woods. Al

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Thanks, Al. I am looking for something no fuss but looks good. The pictures I've seen of the ironwood are rather underwhelming...your response seems the same.

Ugh. Maybe I'll go back to the luma apiculata idea, grown as small trees.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:31PM
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still_kris(z17 NoCA)

I love the Luma apiculata I have and it has been a very carefree plant for me. The gophers here are horrible, but it has managed to survive and prosper. Mine is a big shrub, but has reached about 6'.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:54PM
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What about one of the various lavatera (tree mallow) species?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:23PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

The Catalina Ironwood can be quite attractive if grown in full sun, and the large summer flowers are attractive in their own right. It does tend to send up a thicket of smaller trunks from the base, so if you are a stickler for single trunks, don't use it. Also, it is a somewhat messy tree with a lot of litter from constant foliage drop and the peeling stringy bark. Perhaps one of the Eriogonum species also native to the Channel Islands as an understory, or combined with summer blooming natives such as Salvia clevelandii and Zauschneria californica and grasses such as Leymus condensatus 'Canyon Prince'.

A superficial resemblance of foliage to marijuana, Rubus lineatus looks more like pot to me than the Lyonothamnus.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Beautiful pictures! I always enjoy the feedback on GW as it nudges me out of my stale thinking.

The area being planned has no real access, and currently doesn't have a use, so I am thinking I'll try to make it bird friendly with trees/shrubs with a few grasses planted. We ripped out some huge old hedges, so perhaps I can make amends.

Re: Ironwood The multi-trunk thing doesn't bother me much. The mess, I'm not so sure. I am surprised as they look so tall and skinny in the photos! I figure there is space for one medium tree or a group of small tree/shrubs.

I am a convert to grasses! I was so wrong to think they were boring and plain.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:31AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Even as a multi-trunk tree, it does tend to be more vertical than wide spreading in habit. They do tend to drop a lot of leaf and shedding bark as litter upon whatever is growing beneath them.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Any other suggestions that are less messy? Although, I actually was thinking of not putting much other than mulch directly under them.

I was hoping for evergreen trees of some sort.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:32AM
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I like the native Rhus. For a more vertical evergreen to about 20 feet requiring no water in most soils, I like the Rhus integrifolia. For a more broad shrub to about 10 feet by 10 feet with quite attractive foliage equally as durable, Rhus ovata. If either of these outgrow their space, they can be cut down to one foot, and regrow as attractive as before. Al

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:35AM
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