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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 - October 19, 2012

From: Kneeland, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Evergreen for privacy screen in Northern California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, My neighbor just logged their property and we need a very quick growing evergreen shrub/tree (for privacy of ugly cabin) that grows to at least 10' -15' tall. We live in northern Cal. about 3 miles from the ocean at 1300' in elevation. Rain 40-60" annually, area for privacy screen is mostly shaded. Redwood forest. Coastal fog frequently in early summer but then Indian summers in late August thru mid October when temps climb into the 80's. Please help, they have put up a privacy screen fence (literally you can see thru it) which does absolutely nothing. Thanks

ANSWER:

Here are three possibilities for evergreen shrubs for your privacy screening.   All three are native and are found in Humboldt County:

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blue blossom) is a fast grower to 20 feet and is evergreen with blue blossoms in the spring.   It grows in sun or part shade.  You can read what Yerba Buena Nursery near Woodside and Bay Natives in San Francisco say about it.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) can grow to 20 feet high but usually grows to only about 8 feet.  It is fast-growing and evergreen and will grow in sun and part shade. Here is more information from Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita and Escondido and Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery in Sun Valley.

Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) will grow in shade or part shade up to 25 feet and has very showy flowers.  Here is more information from the Washington Native Plant Society and Woodbrook Native Plant Nursery in Gig Harbor, WA.

 

From the Image Gallery


Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Pacific rhododendron
Rhododendron macrophyllum

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