En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA

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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 30, 2013

From: El Cerrito, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Help. I need fast growing tree for backyard privacy. Where in Berkeley is there a tree nursery to Buy Pittosporum trees? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Pittosporum species are native to Japan and China so it is not a tree that we would recommend for you to grow.   We can, however, recommend several native evergreen trees that would make a good privacy screen for you and would grow better than an imported non-native.  Here are a few evergreen trees and large shrubs that are native to your area:

Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) can grow to 50 feet tall, but can also be pruned into a hedge shape.  It has a fast growth rate (to 20 feet or so) when young, but then slows down.  Here is more information and a photo from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber [synonym=Cercocarpus betuloides] (Birch-leaf mountain-mahogany) can grow to about 20 feet.   Here is more information from Santa Barbara City College.

Arctostaphylos manzanita (Whiteleaf manzanita) is a small tree, growing to about 15 feet.  Here is information about a variety called Dr. Hurd from Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarite, CA.

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) is a small tree that can grow to 18 feet with blue flowers in the spring.  Here is more information from Plants for a Future.

Garrya elliptica (Wavyleaf silktassel) grows to 10 feet. Here is more information from Sonoma County Master Gardeners.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) can grow to 15-20 feet and has bright red berries in the winter.  Here is more information from the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Morella californica [synonym=Myrica californica] (California wax myrtle) grows 10 to 25 feet high and has aromatic foliage.   Here is more information from Great Plant Picks.

You can find all these plants at Bay Natives in San Francisco.  The East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society also has a nursery, Native Here Nursery, located in Berkeley.  Check their webpage for contact information for the hours and the stock they have available.  You can check for other sources in your area by searching in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

From the Image Gallery


Smooth mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Poison Ivy in Semi-wetland Massachusetts
June 27, 2013 - You answered this question for Tennessee, but I would like an answer for a Massachusetts semi-wetlands area: What can I plant to discourage poison ivy, or at least make it very clear that it is poison...
view the full question and answer

Hedge of native Purple Sage in Austin
November 20, 2008 - Hi, I would like to plant a dense hedge of Purple Sage that will hopefully grow from 6-8 ' tall and about 4' wide. I purchased the Silverado Sage Leucophyllum frutescens 'Berstar Dwarf' variety....
view the full question and answer

Declining wax myrtles in Katy, TX
August 24, 2009 - My wax myrtle bushes were thick and green except for a few on the NE side 6 months ago when we bought the house. Now they are thin, leggy, and dropping leaves like crazy. They seem to be dying one bra...
view the full question and answer

Planting Suggestions for a Lake Home in Wayne County, MO
April 03, 2014 - We have a lake home in Wayne County, MO at Lake Wappapello. The soil is very rocky. We recently cleared an area around our home of assorted dead trees, some cedars and what seemed like tons of vines. ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Eves necklacepods (Styphnolobium affine)
March 25, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I urgently need your advice regarding two Eve's necklacepods that appear to be dying. They are in two completely different areas of my yard. One began leafing out and then the leaves sh...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center