Need Recommendations For Fast Growing Screen

millerthymeAugust 23, 2006


I'm seeking recommendations for a shrub/tree to use as a screen to block out the view to a neighbors yard. I need something that is fast growing, and a minimum of 15' tall. I do not want to use bamboo. Location is North Hollywood, CA. Not sure what "look" I'm going for so I'm open at this point.

Any recommendations?

Thanks Much!


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Well, there's bouganvilla. It'll grow REALLY tall, in not too long. And it blooms really pretty. There's two big down-sides to it, though. One is it needs something to grow on (and it gets really heavy), the other is it has really nasty thorns.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 5:32PM
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davissue_zone9(z9 Sunset 14)

try the faq's

Here is a link that might be useful: hedge faq

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:06PM
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nunk(9- southern california)

i'm actually trying to do the same thing right now. are you looking at hedges only? i just planted a fast growing ficus tree and am considering a brisbane box tree to finish the job. i'm also open to suggestions but my main requirements are FAST AND TALL/FULL growing.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 12:22PM
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CA Kate

We blocked the view of our neighbors onto our patio with CA Pepper. We bought it large and it grew rapidly. After 9 years it is 15'+ tall and almost as wide.

Another that was recommended to us -- and we did use -- is Cinnamomum camphora. Once again we bought them larger, are now 20' tall and around 10' wide --- because we keep taking off the bottom branches. The eventual height is 40' and would be almost as wide if left unpruned, and have blocked a view ever since they were planted 9 years ago.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 12:45PM
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Try the book "Ornamental Trees for Mediterannean Climates: The Trees of San Diego." It has over 500 photos of 260 trees that would do well in your climate, with full descriptions of each tree.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ornamental Trees for Mediterranean Climates

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 1:04PM
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We planted Waxleaf Privet for a narrow privacy hedge. It's great! It's now about 8' tall and we planted in 3 years ago. It has white flowers in the spring and blue berries in the winter. The flowers are fragrant but not heady. The leaves are bright green and shiny. The hedge is very attractive. We live in WLA.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 1:18AM
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Last year my neighbor behind me built a shed, just as I finally get used to it what does he do? Last saturday he painted it the brightest yellow he could find! I was horrified! My back fence is only maybe 5 ft tall so it sticks out like a sore thumb... and so does his head when he stands near the fence, this guy is well over 6ft tall! To make matters worse because the side of the shed faces my yard and not his...he didn't care how he painted it and it looks like heck! I had planned on selling my house in the next year or two but now that I have this bright eyesore back there I'm afraid nobody will want to buy it!

I can't afford to buy wood and build a taller fence so that is out. In the corner of my yard is a Crape Myrtle tree and then next to that where the side of the shed faces my yard I have two minature rose bushes with a Kangeroos Paw and assorted flowers in the middle and then next to those I have a Blue Potato Bush (Tree). The Potato Bush has grown pretty tall and I could let it grow up along the fence there but it might interfere with the sun needed for the other plants and get tangled with the Crape Myrtle. I'm also afraid the taller it gets and goes over to his side he'll butcher it. I had planted a morning glory there for privacy (I like to sunbathe in my yard, both him an my side neighbor are peeping toms!) but he kept yanking it down so I pulled it out. I still have the morning glory on my side fence, that neighbor was also yanking it down but they have since moved. On that side I also have a honeysuckle, I am just waiting for it to grow all the way across before I pull that morning glory out. I'd hate to have to remove all of my plants and put something that grows taller, the area is just too close to the Crepe Myrtle and it also would not look very I'm at a loss as to what to do.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 10:25AM
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Neighbor built a second story deck 20 feet from my large bedroom windows. We have planted Cypress trees (but they won't be tall and full for maybe 4- 5 more years), and Giant Burmese Honeysuckle on the fence behind the Cypress (they're 5 ft now, can go to 40ft but, again, it'll take time and these neighbors are "in my bedroom" now. I just got the bright idea of hanging some large potted container plants with a trellis just in front of the 2 bedroom windows to provide me with a view of green instead of neighbors(we've been keeping the blinds down but that depressing. I don't know what to plant that will be ok on the north side with no direct sun (zone 9, coastal calif). Must it be ivy or are their other shade tolerant vining plants? I have, in another area, some large hanging pots of asparages ferns that have lovely, long trailing fronds, so something that forms a thick hanging barrier could work. Plant suggestions for the winter months anyone? In the Spring maybe I can find a clematis that takes shade.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 4:57AM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Oh, gosh, my heart is breaking for each of you!

Davissue has the best recommendations on the FAQ page. Make sure you do check it out.

Christy, I have seen Lady Banks rose grown on Italian cyress and it is just stunning. Giant Burmese Honeysuckle sounds terrifying.

Vinca might be an alternative to ivy for hanging outside your north window. Toothpick bamboo blinds hung from the outside eave will let in light and allow you to see out but it will be difficult to see in.

Kat, I think your only option is to gain fifty pounds (hmmm, what if your neighbors prefer Rubenesque women... oh, it probably wouldn't work). Sorry, I can't think of anything else.

RM, here are some of my experiences to add to Davissue's recommendations. Just something to muse on:

I am a privacy freak, and I pay dearly for it in labor.

I have new, one-year old texas privets growing BEHIND the wood privacy fence on the west so that I can remove the fence some day. As Sue says, must be sheared twice a year for density and control. I think it will be another two years before they are tall and thick enough to take down the wood, and then I will let them "go natural".

Podocarpus gracilis screens my front yard from the neighbors to the south and east. TONS of work to shear three times a year, and once they fill in, they must be topped too. My old electric shears make a brown mess of the leaf tips. It is hard to keep it narrow: I think the narrowest, newest section is about three feet thick. I love the hedge.

Algerian ivy covers a 360 foot chain link fence on my east property line. It's eight to ten feet tall. Back-breaking labor four times a year to keep it under control, and that only works because it borders a driveway for 200 feet and a lawn for the rest, so the bottom can be mowed. I didn't plant it, but I love it. I have redwoods and honey locust on my side and my neighbor has pyracantha, Chinese tallow tree, and pepper trees on his side to raise the height.

"Plants on Sticks" up against wood privacy fences to give more height. I use Sprenger asparagus ferns and small leaved (or is it leafed?) ivies in containers on thick round posts. Expensive option, tough to water enough, but they can live through almost anything. A good alternative to hanging plants for privacy.

Golden bamboo on the north side of the property. Wayyyy too much work. We dug a 28" deep trench on our side to contain it, and parts are filled back in with thick plastic "bamboo barrier". Auto mechanic neighbor behind me has concrete to stop it. It's pretty messy, filling the trench with large fibrous "stuff" from the stalks. The rhizomes that pop through the trench wall must be cut off and the trench maintained. Don't be fooled by those photos in gardening magazines! nothing will grow under it. It's gorgeous.

I guess this is the lesson I have learned. Trying to plant tall, narrow stuff to give privacy and to maximize the remaining space in your yard is usually a fool's errand. It will always be a lot of work, and the results do not really save you much space. My bamboo system is more than ten feet wide. I could have planted any number of shrubs if I wanted to sacrifice ten feet! I thought I could keep the bamboo to two or three feet (ha).

In my next life, I will plant citrus trees, bottlebrush, abelia, arborvitae, and other plants that never need to be trimmed.

Renee whose neighbors can no longer see her sunbathing even on the off-chance they would want to

    Bookmark   September 5, 2008 at 4:42PM
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I'm a privacy freak too. In the front I have big Arborvitaes and on the corner is a thick cactus hedge. I had to replant the north side of my back yard a couple years ago. (I'm on a corner lot) I started with some Privet. It's taking forever to grow because I had Oleander there before that died of leaf scorch and had to be removed. I also added a couple Lady Banks roses hoping they will get huge and some Cape Honeysuckle. They're growing faster than the Privet. I have Lavatera there as well and some California Rose to make it good and prickly to discourage fence hoppers.

Even with the mix it just can't grow fast enough for me.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 6:05PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

christy 9, star jasmine is a vine that grows and blooms well in the shade.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 7:40PM
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