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Monday - October 13, 2008

From: Foster City, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen for garden and pool in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I need a fast growing screen for privacy. Here are the issues:1. we have a 3 story apartment building looking right into our backyard. so trees need to be at least 15' tall and dense. 2. we have a pool so can't be too messy or root invasively. 3. the planter is only 19" deep but 51 feet long along the property border. I have been told, that black stem pittosporum, purple viscosa hopseed and carolina cherry laurel will be good choices. What do you think? I was also considering fern pine and crytomeria radicans but they are rather slow grow? We don't like junipers. Greatly appreciate any advice.


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses on plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. Since some of your plant ideas are non-native, let us give you some websites where you can do more research, since they are not in our area of expertise. We really can't answer for how messy any of these plants are, in terms of keeping trash out of your pool. Any tree or shrub is going to shed dead leaves, blooms, etc. through the year. The space you have, especially the depth, is a concern, as roots are going to spread out beyond the dripline of tree or shrub. 

Non-native to North America

Black stem pittosporum-native to New Zealand, Dave's Garden Forum on Pittosporum tenuifolium

Fern pine-Native to East Africa, see this Dave's Garden Forum on Podocarpus gracilior

Cryptomeria japonica cv. "Radicans" - native to Japan, Dave's Garden Forum on Cryptomeria japonica

Native to North America- follow links to our webpages for more information

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush) - native to S. Florida and S. Arizona; Foster City, in Central California, near the coast, should be warm enough.

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) - native to California. Warning: the seeds of all members of the Prunus genus are poisonous. 

Other Native Suggestions, all native to California

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon)

Quercus dumosa (coastal sage scrub oak)

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (birchleaf mountain mahogany)

Dodonaea viscosa

Prunus caroliniana

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Quercus dumosa

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber





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