Aiyiyi--need oleander replacement

cowper(z10/Sun15 SFBay)June 30, 2011

Here's the situation: We have a narrow sideyard where the only free space is next to a tall, well-established white oleander, which has been pruned into a 10-to-15-foot-tall tree. We've been grilling under the oleander, with the grill sitting in the dirt bed next to the oleander. I was planning on extending the brick walkway out a bit so that the grill won't keep sinking into the ground....but as I'm digging the patio extension, a neighbor reminded me of the high toxicity levels of oleander. It's a gas grill with a cover, and certainly we wouldn't accidentally eat any leaves....but even so, the alarm has gone off in my mind.

I would love to plant something else that has similar characteristics: evergreen, can take a certain amount of shade (it's next to a fence), doesn't need a lot of water, grows quickly, etc.

We may just take the whole thing out anyway, but it would be nice to have a backup plan in case it just looks too bare there.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

You must *eat* the leaves and/or use the branches as skewers.

So keep the oleander if you like it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

Getting a long established oleander out of the ground requires at least a heavy vehicle and a heavy chain. We did that with 4 of them and it was a very hard 2-day job.

They are such reliable plants, I would keep it, prune it as you like, and just throw the fallen leaves away. min

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 8:53PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I agree with Jean. Besides having to ingest an oleander leaf, good luck trying to do that. They are so incredibly bitter, that you'd know immediately if you bit into one. Hence why oleander poisoning is extremely rare. Not to worry, enjoy your barbeque!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 10:51PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

I'm going with the majority here. Oleander won't cause you any problems. Just don't trim it while you are grilling and get sap in the turkeyburgers.

If you cut it down, it will just grow back from the roots anyway.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 11:54PM
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calistoga_al

I have 150 oleanders one third of them white, which is the strongest grower. It is a big job to keep them at a reasonable height, let alone trying to actually kill one. If you are up to keeping them the size you want, I would not try to get rid of them. As you can imagine I have a very large amount of oleanders to compost, and it makes excellent finished compost. Al

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 8:53AM
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cowper(z10/Sun15 SFBay)

Thanks so much, everyone, for walking me through my freak-out! Sounds like we should just continue to take the precautions we have been taking, and give the oleander a good trim.

Even though I did not plant it, I don't mind it and it is screening our neighbor's two-story, very blah stucco wall...so I would be sad to see it go.

Happy 4th everyone!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:13PM
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