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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.

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

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Wednesday - August 15, 2012

From: Novato, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Evergreen shrub for hedge in pasture in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking at putting in a hedge along a pasture between my neighbor and me. I was considering a podacarpus plant about every 4' for 100'. is this a fast growing, full thickness, tall evergreen bush? is it OK for horses and cows and any other animal life?

ANSWER:

Podocarpus marcrophylla (Japanese yew) is native to Japan and China and we would not recommend planting it since our mission is to "increase the sustainable use and conservation of native (North American) wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  I can, however, suggest several California native evergreens for your hedge.  The following are all evergreen and native to Northern California:

Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita).  'Dr. Hurd" is a variety that grows 6 to 12 feet high and makes a good hedge.   Here are photos and more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in southern California.  This shrub is available at Bay Natives, one of our associates, in San Francisco.

Garrya elliptica (Wavyleaf silktassel) grows to 10 ft.  Here are photos and more information from San Francisco Botanical Garden and from Yerba Buena Nursery near Woodside.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) [synonym = Myrica californica] grows 10 to 25 ft.  Here are photos and more information from Calflora.org, CalPhotos and Great Plant Picks.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) grows to 18 ft.   Here are more photos and information from Bay Natives and from Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano showing the variety 'Snow Flurry' that grows to 10 ft.

These are all available at Bay Natives, one of our associates, in San Francisco.  You can find a list of other nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.

The above listed plants do not appear on any of the following toxic plant lists:

California Poison Control System

Cornell University's Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania's Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

ASCPC:  Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Horses

 

From the Image Gallery


Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

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