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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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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Pacific Grove, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Trees for privacy screen in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smartypants, We are first-time home-buyers of a cute little house and a relatively large lot in Pacific Grove, CA. Unfortunately the neighbors to the north have built a second story with a nice view..our yard. We would like to plant some natives that would provide a screen while not taking up too much of our yard or presenting a potential hazard from falling later (thinking specifically of shallow-rooted redwoods) or being too un-neighborly by blocking most of their sunlight. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

Below are some suggestions of native evergreen trees and shrubs of various heights that are known to grow in Monterey County.  You could, perhaps, mix and match them to create an interesting screen between your yard and your neighbor's house.

Arctostaphylos glauca (Bigberry manzanita)  Here is more from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom)  More information from Bay Natives in San Francisco and from Theodore Payne Foundation.

Garrya elliptica (Wavyleaf silktassel)  Here are photos and more information from San Francisco Botanical Garden.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Juniperus californica (California juniper)  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation and photos from CalPhotos, University of California-Berkeley.

Lithocarpus densiflorus (Tan oak)  Here is more information from Oregon State University College of Forestry and photos from CalPhotos, University of California-Berkeley.

Morella californica (California wax myrtle)  Here are photos and more information from Great Plant Picks and San Marcos Growers near Santa Barbara.

Pinus muricata (Bishop pine)  Here is more information from Theodore Payne Foundation and Las Pilitas Nursery.

Pinus sabiniana (California foothill pine)  Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery and Theodore Payne Foundation.

Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf cherry)  Here are more information and photos from Las Piliatas Nursery and Theodore Payne Foundation.

The University of California has a Californnia Tree Failure Report Program webpage to check for trees to avoid planting.

Below are photos of a few of these plants listed above.

 

From the Image Gallery


Bigberry manzanita
Arctostaphylos glauca

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Catalina cherry
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii

More Privacy Screening Questions

Year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.
November 02, 2010 - We need a year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.
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Screen plant for Austin
March 30, 2009 - I live in Austin Texas and am looking for a small tree or large shrub that will obscure the view from my kitchen window into my neighbors. I am looking for an evergreen plant that gets no wider than ...
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Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
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Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
January 16, 2013 - I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
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Small tree with blossoms for screen in Corpus Christi, Texas
July 26, 2010 - We are looking for something to plant along a back fence for privacy but don't want it to be a bush. What might work like a crepe Myrtle in the Corpus Christi area that would blossom towards the to...
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