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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Saturday - May 04, 2013

From: Temecula, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Privacy screen from Temecula CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Temecula and need a fast growing tree by our pool that is good to block neighbors house.

ANSWER:

Before we begin, let us give you some caveats (that means we can't do everything you want us to)

1.  The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which those plants have evolved; in your case, Riverside County in extreme Southern California.  This helps ensure that plants chosen are already accustomed to climate, soils and rainfall when you plant them.

2. Fast-growing woody plants (trees and shrubs) tend to be short-lived. The speed of growth can depend on the amount of sunlight, the soil and temperature.

3. Completely blocking out a view would probably take years to achieve. We suggest a group of different types of plants, with different heights and textures, to distract the eye and focus on the attractiveness of the plants nearer the viewer.

4. Around pool areas, any plant, trees especially, are going to tend to drop a lot of stuff into the water. Also, tree roots can get into foundations, paving and even the structure of the pool, potentially causing cracking and damage.

Let us suggest you go to the website of Las Pilitas in Escondido. Here is their mission statement:

"All we grow are native plants.

The Escondido nursery grows primarily for the San Diego, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. We have some desert native plants, mountain plants and a lot of chaparral and coastal sage scrub plants. Which means, we have Manzanita, Ceanothus, Salvia, Buckwheat, California Fuchsia and many other native plants."

This means that they probably have more plants that will work in your garden than we do in our database. They specialize in your area. They probably have some of the mature specimens  of plants you are considering, and they believe in plants native to the area, just like we do.

 

 

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