Articles in Category: Good for Screening

Thuja plicata, 'Western Red Cedar', 'Arborvitae'

on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Conifer, Native, Evergreen, Trees

1/26/21

thujaPlicataGeneralThuja plicata, commonly known as 'Western Red Cedar', or 'Arborvitae', is native to the Pacific Northwest and has gained popularity among landscapers and homeowners for privacy screens. This member of the cypress family has naturally flowing branches and soft, fragrant, evergreen foliage, and a full-bodied pyramidal form that makes them attractive all year round! These trees can literally provide complete privacy with little maintenance in just a few years.

thujaExcelsaWestern Red Cedars look great when left in their natural shape, but if you are interested in a more traditional look, they respond extremely well to shearing of pruning for a more uniform shape. Not only can they be used as an attractive privacy hedge, but they also act as a wind buffer and they can help filter dust and other pollutants from traffic on nearby driveways and roads.

The ease of growing arborvitae is partly because they tolerate almost any soil type, are cold hardy, and somewhat deer resistant. They are not picky plants, however, they do best when planted in ideal conditions such as moist, well-drained soil, adequate water, and full to part sun. Once established, they are drought tolerant and don’t need much attention other than seasonal watering adjustments. Be careful to not overwater them, especially during the hottest days of summer!

There are several different cultivars of Western Red Cedar. Although they all share similar characteristics in foliage, form, location needs, one difference is the rate of growth and size at maturity. These trees are very easy to maintain your desired height and width.

thujaSpecs

Taxus media, 'Hick's Yew'

on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

1/26/21

taxusHicksiiHicksYewHick's Yew is a distinctive shrub with a lot of character when compared to other evergreen conifers or broadleaf shrubs used for privacy screening. Graceful, long, upright branches are covered with lush, petite, glossy, dark evergreen foliage. With an overall slow growth rate of about 12” per year, and 10-12 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide at maturity, it is a relatively easy maintenance plant for narrow spaces where you need a tall hedge or privacy screen.

taxusHicksYewBerries2Its resilience as a popular choice for a privacy screen is because of its dense, columnar growth that responds exceptionally well to heavy shearing or pruning by becoming denser. For added interest, Hick’s Yew produces red berries in fall, but if you are in need of seedless variety, then the male ‘H.M. Eddie’ is also an option.

Hick’s and H.M. Eddie yews are equally happy in full sun or full shade. So whether you live in hot and bright, or cool and shady climates and locations, you are bound to have success. Yews can tolerate a wide range of soils but do best in a well-draining area. To help encourage robust and healthy root growth, make sure it is well watered for at least the first few months after planting.

Adding a few inches of leaf or wood chip mulch will help insulate the roots from extreme winter and summer temperatures, and retain moisture throughout the year. Once established, they are drought tolerant but will grow best when it is watered after the soil has been allowed to dry out.

Fargesia 'Rufa', Hardy Bamboo

on Tuesday, 26 January 2021. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Evergreen, Grasses

1/26/21

fargesiaRufa2Clumping bamboo (Fargesia ‘Rufa’) is just as visually attractive as it is effective as a privacy screen. Reaching up to 10 feet tall, it has a tight clumping habit and mounding form that doesn’t spread far from its original planting. Not only does it have the classic lush evergreen stems and leaves of bamboo, but it is also one of the first to send out noticeable bright orange-red shoots new shoots in the spring that really stand out among greens and browns of the post-winter landscape. This versatile plant is a great choice for someone that wants a low maintenance privacy screen that is easy to grow.

'Rufa' is one of several species lumped under the common name ‘hardy bamboo’ but is more heat tolerant and able to handle full sun without leaf curl. It is also more cold hardy than other types of 'hardy bamboo’, but with the same clumping growth habit, and ability to grow well in both sun or shade. The perfect location is somewhere with at least four hours of filtered sun or better. It will grow faster with more sun, which means a faster privacy screen. Keep in mind that sunnier sites will require more watering not just because of evaporation. They consume more water as they grow faster. It prefers well-draining that is rich in organic material.

fargesiaRufaAdequate watering during the transplant establishment period is the key to success. They should be watered well until the soil is saturated and moist, then allowed to dry out before the next watering. The amount of time between watering has many variables so it’s helpful to have a moisture meter to probe below the soil. Otherwise, you can dig down 6-8 inches just inside the perimeter of the root ball. If the soil clings, it’s moist, if it falls apart, it’s on the dry side.

Remember when we mentioned ‘low maintenance’? After your bamboo is established, other than making sure it’s water needs are met, it is virtually self-maintaining. Just leave the dropped leaves on the ground for a winter mulch to insulate the roots and retain moisture over winter and summer. As an added bonus, it will help keep weeds down in spring, and eventually, break down releasing matter and nutrients back into the soil.

Rhamnus californica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Winter Interest, Berries Attract Wildlife, Native, Evergreen, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant

California Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry

Coffeeberry is a great candidate for that hard-to-fill niche of an evergreen native shrub that also attracts birds and pollinators; is drought tolerant, deer resistant, and fire resistant; and even makes a good hedge or screen. In fact, it may well be the only plant that fills that niche!

Coffeeberry is a west coast native; occurring from southern Oregon all the way south into Baja California. It gets its common name from its fruit: berries that change from green to red to almost black over the course of the year. The flowers are inconspicuous (although pollinators notice them just fine) but the birds definitely notice the colorful berries.

Rhamnus makes a great hedge, usually growing at a medium rate to 6-8' tall and wide, with the potential to get larger in more wooded areas. The named variety 'Eve Case’ has broader and brighter, green foliage and will stay a bit more compact at 4-8' wide and tall. Its leaves are long and pointed and are a matte green with a paler underside.

Coffeeberry prefers full sun but can also be happy in part shade or a more wooded garden. In the Rogue Valley, it can tolerate the heat and most soils, although it prefers a sandy, well-draining soil. This is truly a drought-tolerant plant - once established, it can survive on no irrigation. To keep it more fire resistant, though, we recommend giving it a deep soak every two weeks during the summer months. We have found Coffeeberry to be deer resistant in most situations, especially once established. Deer may have a tendency to chew the new growth, but will leave plants alone when they get some size on them.

If you are new to growing native plants, this is a great plant to start with. Try it out to see how easy, attractive, and sustainable native plants can be in your garden!

Vitex agnus-castus

on Wednesday, 22 July 2020. Posted in Good for Screening, Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Trees, Shrubs, Drought Tolerant, Flowering Plants

Chaste Tree

Vitex edThis drought tolerant Mediterranean native absolutely thrives here in the Rogue Valley! Vitex needs consistent heat in order to bloom profusely, and our long hot summers give them exactly what they like. From mid-summer into early fall, Vitex is covered with long spikes of flowers ranging in color from soft lavender to dark blue. The blooms slowly open from the base to the tips, eventually reaching up to 12 inches long and lasting at least 4 to 5 weeks; attracting bees and hummingbirds from far and wide.

VitexFlipSide editVitex’s fragrant leaves are very attractive in their own right. Their shape is similar to a lace leaf Japanese Maple; and are a lovely shade of soft blue-green. Most varieties are gray-green underneath, but Flip Side features a dark purple reverse – making them truly stunning in a breeze. As an extra bonus, the fragrance helps make this plant quite deer resistant.

One of the fun things about Vitex is that you can grow it into whatever form you like, multi-trunk or single trunk tree, or a large, broad shrub. The straight species, and varieties like Shoal Creek get about 10-15’ tall and wide. Varieties like Flip Side and Delta Blues are smaller – maybe 8-10’ tall and wide at maturity. Vitex bloom on new wood, so they take very well to a severe pruning, even all the way back to the ground if needed. We have also seen them be used successfully in large containers against hot walls and parking lots.

Vitex grow slower with drought conditions and grow fairly rapidly with regular water and richer soil, but will tolerate both conditions well. We have been very impressed with the cold hardiness and drought tolerance of these shrubs as well as their many uses. Vitex are one of the few choices for a small tree or large shrub that thrives in the heat and has lovely blooms late in the season!