Picking the right plant

garrai81June 15, 2013

I am trying to find a couple plants for a particular spot in my yard.

Is there any kind of "decision tree" online for the northwest where the web site asks you a series of questions about your planting area and what you want, and then offers suggestions?

My particular search is for a bushy, wide evergreen that can take heat (sun until about 3 pm in the summer) and that does not exceed 15 feet. The point is to shelter the side of a one-storey house, and provide privacy all year long.

Thanks for any thoughts.


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Online.....no :-) But any decent local nursery should be able to help you pick out an appropriate plant.

A bushy, wide evergreen that tolerates sun and won't exceed 15' is not that hard to come by......escallonia, ceanothus, choisya, cistus, Viburnum tinus are all possibilities. Harder to come up with a conifer that fits that bill but a row of arborvitaes ('Smaragd') would work. Although almost too dense for just privacy purposes. Clumping bamboo also a possibility.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 7:24PM
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George Three LLC

unless you have absolutely no room to work i think evergreen privacy screening is best spaced out from the foundation. a mixed hedge type border 20 feet or so from the window can get all the privacy you need, and gives the plants room to spread out nicely. plus you don't get that claustrophobic feel inside the house, with plants pressing up against the windows. not to mention extra winter light. your choices expand as well as you can plant larger shrubs/trees etc.

the only time i like putting large evergreens against a house is to shield the house from the outside world, not the other way around. hide some weird ugly bit of the home. newer value driven design homes often have big flat sections that are in dire need of windows and detailing. thats a perfect time to throw a 15 foot tall evergreen 5 feet from the foundation. takes a bit of extra work to prune a good foot or so from the siding.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Thanks for the suggestions for this hot, exposed side of the house.

I only have about 8 feet between the side of the house and a retaining wall, so I am limited.

There are no windows on this side of the house (except for a tiny bathroom window), just a heat pump.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 7:56AM
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George Three LLC

so, west or south exposure? (since its hot)

fast drainage? (I'll assume that there is a drop off down from the house).

how about some madrone, pacific wax myrtle and ceanothus? south oregon look. they should be happy in that spot, will cover up the house and not block much.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Cryptomeria japonica 'Elegans' is evergreen and wide.
it can also be pruned to keep it in bounds.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 11:24AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

You're liable to end up with something you are maintaining with regular pruning in order to get the desired size within a fairly short period of time yet not have it continue on beyond 15'. The only type that shoots up (same year, in fact) to a predetermined height that is not exceeded is bamboo - each individual culm completes its height growth within a year. As the plant grows through the years it produces taller and taller culms, but there is a maximum height for each kind that is not exceeded once it is attained. Unlike non-grasses which just keep getting taller and taller until they break off, blow over, die back or die - even the tallest coast redwoods have terminal shoots that grow longer each year, as long as these shoots remain alive.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 3:12PM
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The drainage is somewhat fast. The exposure is eastern.

I appreciate all the comments. I now have a list that I will look at carefully.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 7:27AM
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