Growing Pyracantha in NW

briergardener_gwDecember 8, 2009

I am looking for something evergreen to grow as espalier on a fence. Kitchen window in my daughter's house facing a fence and wall of house behind it and i want to cover it with some greenery.

Is somebody growing pyracantha as espalier here? What kind?

What kind of care it required? Any pros and cons?

Any other ideas?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Scab resistance and hardiness are the two main points to have in mind with these. Now would not be a bad time to look for some at local outlets, good kinds will still have fresh-looking fruits.

Apart from that, the flowers stink and the shrubs are stiff and wickedly spiny. Training onto a surface involves developing the basic main structure first and then heading back in summer to maintain the shape, same as with espalier fruit trees.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Does not sound as good candidate.
Any other ideas to hide fence and create a nice view from the window?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Winter blooming camellias, Camellia sasanqua, are often trained as espaliers and you should be able to view a good selection in nurseries now. Flowering quince can also be trained into a handsome espalier - one of its better applications IMO - but it is not evergreen. If one purchases small starts, a good many evergreen shrubs can be trained as espaliers. You just need one that offers some flexibility in its branching structure (avoid hollies!). There is a good resource for this in the book Living Fences: A Gardener's Guide to Vines, Hedges and Espaliers by Ogden Tanner. It is currently out of print but one can often find copies at the library or as used books. Yews, cotoneaster and viburnums are suggested, as well as an assortment of deciduous trees and shrubs.

I am rather partial to pyracantha and have not noticed any unpleasant fragrance from the flowers - flower scent does tend to be rather personal and subjective. They are very attractive if trained well and the berries are profuse. It is quite thorny and that's certainly concern when pruning/training but I wouldn't necessarily rule it out for your purposes just based on that characteristic.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 10:20AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If you want that same berry effect, you won't get it from anything else.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 10:24AM
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thank you, gardengal and bboy.
I have now some information to think about.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 12:50PM
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boxofrox(z8 PNW)

I have several 'Mojave' and a 'Gnome' growing on a fence interspersed with 'Cameo' flowering quince, 'Profusion' beautyberry and various honeysuckles. I actually quite like the pyracanthas because they mute fence w/o taking up space :-) This is not a great pic but this is the fenceline along the top of the hill above my pond. Left to right is 'Gnome', 'Cameo', 'Profusion', 'Mojave', and a honeysuckle.

The Mojave is about 12' wide. My area is a bit more natural so I don't trim mine too formally, I just peg them to the fence how they want to grow and keep them trimmed fairly flat. Here's an old shot of the quince between the two firethorns.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 6:18PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Boxofrox, gorgeous as always.

The townhouse where I lived the majority of the time I lived in Phoenix was surrounded by Pyracanthas. I do remember a nasty smell to the flowers and the wicked thorns but the berries sure are pretty.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 9:04PM
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boxofrox(z8 PNW)

Thanks buy, long time, no talk to :-)

I remember seeing it everywhere when we were looking at real estate down there. I don't really notice the smell up above my pond and I kind of like thorns to put out the unwelcome mat to those critters that like to wreak havoc with the streams and waterfalls.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 12:13AM
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Nice job on the quince, Glenn! I saw a 'Texas Scarlet' trained the same way along a retaining wall in the Ballard area - it was stunning also. Do you have any issues with the quince suckering? That is one of the primary reasons I no longer grow this shrub, although my previous attempt was not espaliered.....maybe I would have been happier with it if it were.

No room nor enough sun for it in the new garden, although I am leaning heavily towards a sasanqua -- I'd rather have the bloom at this time of year rather than add to the spring show.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 11:00AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I've grown a 'Falconet Charlotte' against a wall for years with little difficulty. My specimen does not seem to have nearly as much vigor as a common C. lagenaria planted next to the asphalt driveway decades ago, and long being a chronic nuisance due to sprouts coming up through the asphalt.

Occasional attempts to eliminate the clump with herbicides have not prevailed. I cut all the shoots down nearly every year.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 1:13PM
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boxofrox(z8 PNW)

Thanks Pam, the pic doesn't really do it justice. It's actually a lot deeper peach colored. It has suckered some which I'm fine with, I just pull them all up and pin them. In amongst the rock, it can't get too out of control.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 4:07PM
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