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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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Sunday - March 25, 2012

From: Gilbert, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Hedge in Desert Full Sun
Answered by: Becky Ruppel

QUESTION:

We want a short hedge, 2-3 ft tall, small leaves that fill in to full looking hedge. It is in Phoenix Arizona area and gets full sun all afternoon

ANSWER:

Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) will work perfectly for a hedge in the hot Arizona sun.  The bush is desert adapted (from the Mojave and Sonoran deserts) and will need little water after becoming established.  It will need to be trimmed to accomplish a desired height because it has a tendency to get quite tall otherwise.  Fortunately, the trimming will also cause it to fill in a bit and make dense hedge.  Jojoba is extremely resistant to the desert heat and will thrive in full sun.  It is also spineless, so should be a very friendly bush to have around a yard. 

If you would like to look at more options you can look at the Wildflower Center’s Native Plant Database.  Under Combinanton Search select ‘Arizona’ from the State or Provence menu, select ‘Shrub’ from the Habit menu.  From the check boxes, select ‘full sun’, ‘evergreen’, and ‘semi-evergreen’.  This search will return all plants that will work for a full hedge and the other requirements you listed. 

 

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