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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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Monday - February 22, 2016

From: Los Angeles, CA
Region: California
Topic: Xeriscapes, Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening
Title: Water-Wise Privacy Hedge for California
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I would like recommendations for a privacy hedge that would grow at least 12 feet tall with non-invasive roots and hopefully water-wise in Los Angeles.

ANSWER:

The place to start for a list of prospective drought tolerant, native California privacy hedge plants is with the Native Plant Database. Select California, full sun, shrub, perennial and 12-36 feet for your search.

Some possibilities for you to investigate are:

Redshank (Adenostoma sparsifolium) This erect, tree-like shrub grows 6-18 ft. high. The bark is red-brown and freely exfoliating. Twigs are green. Small, white, tubular flowers occur in open, showy clusters.

Saskatoon serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) This is typically an erect shrub, 3-18 ft. tall. In rich soils, a single trunk may develop and attain 30 ft. in height. Compact clusters of fragrant, white flowers emerge just before small, light-green, oval leaves appear. The small, sweet, blue berries ripen by early summer. Fall color is orange to red and takes place for long periods.

Alderleaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus) Alder-leaf Mountain Mahogany is an 8-20 ft. shrub or small tree with very attractive, almost-evergreen leaves - dark green on top and fuzzy silver underneath. Non-showy flowers are followed by feathery, silvery-white fruits, occurring from May to November.

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) A freely branched, evergreen shrub or small tree which can grow 15-20 ft. tall but usually is 6-8 ft. high and 4-5 ft. wide. Leathery, dark-green leaves provide a background for profuse white blooms and long-lasting displays of bright-red berries. The flowers and berries occur in large, terminal clusters. One of the most beautiful native shrubs or small trees, evergreen, with short trunk, many branches, and rounded crown.

Silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) Silver buffaloberry is a mound-shaped shrub, 6-20 ft. tall, which sometimes becomes nearly tree-like. The deciduous plant may be single-trunked or have a few short-trunked stems. Twigs are spiny and silvery gray. Foliage is also silvery-gray. Inconspicuous flowers precede a football-shaped berry that is red, orange or yellow. Shrub or small tree with silvery, scaly leaves, young twigs, berries; branches opposite; twigs often spine-tipped. The berries are edible, but sour, best after frost in November.

 

From the Image Gallery


Redshank
Adenostoma sparsifolium

Saskatoon serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia

Saskatoon serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia

Alderleaf mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Silver buffaloberry
Shepherdia argentea

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