En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 31, 2009

From: Westminster, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub or small tree to hide walls in southern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have multiple issues in our back yard in 92683, and will probably need an assortment of plants to accomplish it. In a nutshell, here are the basics we were hoping to fix: 1) Ugly 5 & 6 foot block walls need to be hidden, 2) Plants should grow above walls to provide additional privacy, 3) Small yard, so minimal girth on plants at least below 5', 4) Dog eats everything, so must be non-toxic, and preferably minimal debris, 5) Our soil is a bit silty and dries out fast, and last 6) easy maintenance. Hopefully you have some ideas we can try.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would like to refer you to the California-Southern Recommended list for commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping in southern California.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the list to 'Shrubs' or 'Trees' and make the choices yourself.  You can then check your choices against the list, Poisonous Plants Commonly Occurring in Southern California by Owen E. Dell, to be sure your plants are not toxic.  You can also check your choices against the Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System databases. Here is also a list of Common Poisonous Plants for pets from the Humane Society of the United States.  

Here are a few plants chosen from the California-Southern Recommended list that are not toxic and meet your other criteria above.  There are many more to choose from.

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

One of the many Arctostaphylos species (manzanitas) native to southern California. 

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)

Ceanothus impressus (Santa Barbara ceanothus)

Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens (stretchberry)

Fremontodendron californicum (California flannelbush)

Prosopis velutina (velvet mesquite)


Amorpha fruticosa

Arctostaphylos pungens

Chilopsis linearis

Cornus nuttallii

Ceanothus impressus

Forestiera pubescens var. pubescens

Fremontodendron californicum

Prosopis velutina

 


 

More Shrubs Questions

Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
March 27, 2008 - I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
view the full question and answer

Cool, wet summer effect on evergreen sumac
August 28, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 3 evergreen sumac bushes that I planted as a screen between my house and my neighbors two years ago. They are located in a part of our yard that receives a lot of runof...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California
June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Esperanza in Abilene TX
November 03, 2012 - I have 3 beautiful Gold Star Esperanzas that are too large and need to be transplanted. How can I do this and what time of year. They are five years old and always return in the spring.
view the full question and answer

Pruning overgrown spicebush shrubs in Ohio.
October 08, 2009 - I have 2 spicebush shrubs, a male and female, on the north side of my house. They have been there for years, but like everything else I have ever planted, they grow way larger than the catalog i boug...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center