Citrus as part of multi-shrub hedge?

rfkavanaghMarch 9, 2013

I'm just about to close escrow and will have a garden for the first time in my adult life, and my brain is on fire with all the possibilities and potential pitfalls of getting it in order!

The back yard has a ~30ft side wall and a rear wall with a gate. Haven't fully decided what to do with the back wall yet (grow another tall hedge or go with vines), but for the side wall I'm envisioning a mix of various hedge plants to provide variety and different colors (probably some mix of podocarpus, photinia (don't hate me!), privet or ligustrum and maybe a couple of others I haven't thought of yet). Essentially, I'm looking for fast growers to get a privacy screen going sooner rather than later (isn't everyone), but I also really like the idea of including citrus trees in the mix and benefiting from the smell/fruit.

So, my question is how well citrus trees would blend and grow with the more traditional hedges noted above. Since they grow more slowly, would they get overrun or hidden? How well would they work privacy-wise? And how close could I plant them to the others for an unbroken wall of greenery?

I'm sure these are pretty basic questions, but I'm a little lost in all the different thoughts and possibilities - hoping someone can help guide me a little!

Thanks in advance... :)

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Suzi AKA DesertDance

First let me say "Congratulations!" You have a blank slate, and a world of wonder ahead.

We are in the same boat with new property. Please don't think me negative. Just sharing our experience. We just ripped out tons of tall vining hedges, never to be seen again, and get the "thumbs up" from all the neighbors! Think beautiful house, hidden. There were various hedges, some vining, some not, but all invasive. Over 500' of stuff to remove. Not cheap, and not cheap to replace, either!

We are going to do an all dwarf citrus hedge behind the frontage wrought iron fence, and mix the types of citrus. The hedge will be topped at about 4-5', and we will lose some fruit, but not all. It will stay green all year, and that is the idea. I wouldn't mix a vine in there because vines climb anything and could strangle your citrus... Plus rats live in vines. They love that inner dark. Citrus are airy, so not so tempting to them.

I think the green of the podacarpus would look great among citrus, but there will be gaps because citrus grows sort of as wide as it is tall.

Good luck! I'm sure you will get lots of responses!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 11:30AM
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jxbrown(z10/24 SD, CA)

Congratulations on your new homes!

Rats love fallen fruit and citrus trees. Rats, in fact, can make a meal of just about anything. If you want fruit trees, just be prepared to do some sort of rodent control. Also, citrus won't thrive without plenty of sun so check the exposure for your planned hedge.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:13PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

as jxbrown mentioned, citrus need plenty of sun, given that, they should create a nice wall of productive greenery.

Not sure if this is generally true, but from what I'm seeing, the lemons and limes have much less dense foliage than orange & grapefruit.

I'm working towards a long-term plan for a lazy citrus hedge. I snack from the tangelo tree already there and just keep tossing seeds into the bed along the north side of the property and if any of them grow, I will graft onto the rootstocks.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone (and the congrats, desertdance - I don't envy you your de-vining project!). I'm vacillating between many options for the hedge, but I'll take any input to help me decide what to do. I still really like the idea of having citrus on the property, but it seems like trying to incorporate them into a privacy screen is not the way to go. More to ponder...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:11PM
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