Native Plant Hedge - Northern California

katita(9 CA)March 16, 2008


We are trying to create a Native Garden in our front yard (quite a small yard). Our Neighbor's driveway is very close to our home/yard (on this street of 1940s homes, the driveway runs between each house and back to an old fashioned outdoor garage) -- our neighbors have stock-piled three rusty non-working cars in their driveway! The cars take up the whole length of the driveway which is adjacent to our front yard. The rusty cars are parked starting at the sidewalk, and continue to their garage (which they do not use for cars, but for storage. We have talked to them, but since the issue has not been remedied, I am thinking of planting some kind of hedge along the edge of our yard adjacent to their driveway. Even a 4 foot hedge would go far towards blocking the cars. My husband is very committed to everything in the front yard being Native to CA. I am committed to low-water and Native if possible...however, I would love to block our view of the rusty vehicles and would consider non-native if necessary. If you have any suggestions, we are open to them! Thank You, Katita

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The Western Garden Book has a section on natives.
A fast growing native check out Flannel Bush - fremontodendron california. With pruning you could keep it to 4 feet but it might be wider than you want.
I think a couple of native ceanothus would do also.
Check into your city laws also. They probably have other junk around you can't see and that causes rodent problems.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:12AM
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wanda(Z9 CA)

Katita, you have several choices that would work for a hedge/screen. "Gardening with CA native plants" by Bornstein and Fross is a good resource.

Since you are interested in native plants/gardens, you might want to sign up for the Going Native Garden Tour on April 20

Here's a few natives that make good screens:
Ceanothus ("Ray Hartman" in particular is fast growing, but rather tall-15-20')
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
Myrica californica
Manzanita ('Howard McMinn' is pretty good)
Lemonade Berry (Rhus integrifolia)

You also might want to check out the Las Pilitas web site.


Here is a link that might be useful: garden tour

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:42AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

The suggestions offered, all good, are also pretty large for a city lot front yard. Dendromecon harfardii or California bush poppy grows to about 4 to 6 feet high and about as wide. It is evergreen with flushes of yellow flowers throughout the year. Al

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 8:30AM
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fremontodendron california can irritate the skin, so don't plant it anywhere you will brush up against it. =^,,^=

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 10:45AM
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Wanda's suggestions are all good.

We actually grew ceanothus "Ray Hartman" along a wall and it grew from a 5-gallon can to 10ft. high in about two years. It's not too hard to keep it vertical so it doesn't take up so much horizontal space--I think we pruned it hard once a year right after blooming.

Also, lavatera assurgentiflora makes a gorgeous, super-fast growing, evergreen, everblooming, hummingbird-magnet, no-water screen. The downside is it requires very hard pruning a couple of times a year but can totally take it.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:09PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

Fuchsia flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) makes a nice small hedge about 4 or five feet high. It is evergreen if it gets a little summer water, and has a great display of flowers that hummingbirds love in spring. It is thorny, so isn't for every location.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 8:56AM
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I saw some Fremontia yesterday. It was enormous! It's beautiful but I think too big for a garden, There are some smaller selections like Ken Taylor.

The Lavatera is wonderful and so is Ceanothus 'Concha'

Dendromecon would make an especially lovely hedge. It's thick enough that it would block the sight of those junkers.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 1:48PM
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sounds as if the planting space is narrower than desired "hedge" height. that's very limiting. :-(
myrica has unpredictable reputation (i've never done anything with it).
the rhus is very tough, but wide (my limited experience). lavatera is fast but a wide blob, and becomes old fast. (i guess you could replant).
a. 'Howard McMinn'... hmm, googling shows it gets taller than i thought i'd ever seen it. i wonder if it opens up below like most (all?) the taller arctostaph?
prunus ilicifolia is good, but gets rather large.

i'd start toyon for a few years with some irrigation. they'll be decent size but some will have dropped out or develop stubborn openings. so you could fill with e.g., a more upright variety of ceanothus. and shove a few more species in there. a uniform hedge looks dorky. :-)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 8:27AM
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Prunus illicitifolia makes a very attractive, dense hedge and is extremely tolerant of pruning. Can be held at any height from four to ten feet tall.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 8:47AM
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kerrican2001(z9b CA)

These are all great suggestions. Do keep in mind that "California natives" are not all one and the same, and sometimes, non-native plants may be more eco-friendly to your area compared to natives from parts of California with a different climate. Redwoods, yuccas, and oaks all come from different types of habitats, as do the plants around them.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I have a beautiful ceanothus hedge in my yard. Right now it's in full beautiful lilac blue bloom. It shapes into a hedge very nicely. Dendromecon is a rangy bush and doesn't form a hedge. I have a flannel bush as well and it's pruned into a nice box hedge. But it grows very quickly and has to be pruned back every summer. It's also in full bloom and is covered in waxy yellow flowers. Maybe even Toyon can be hard pruned to a hedge. Or even a california laurel. I never tried though I have both plants. Both have to be pruned because they are very fast growers in Southern Cal. Manzanita makes a good bush, but I've never made it into a hedge. You really want to see those striking red trunks and limbs. Maybe even try California bush poppy: Carpinteria. It has lovely white poppy-like blooms each spring. It is a very compact grower. At least for me.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 4:54PM
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