The Q&A Archives: Street Hedge Recommendations

Question: We are looking for a plant that can form an at least 5.5 foot hedge, to screen our front yard from the street. We live on a hill that gets ocean breeze daily from noon onward, the location is southwest facing, and gets mostly full sun with nominal shade from an old pepper tree. We're also hoping for something that can fill-in fairly quickly. We've been looking at options such as escallonia (e.g., pink princess), camellia sasanqua (e.g., yuletide), and red-tip photinia (although I've read they suffer from brown spot in our area). As you can imagine, it's been a tricky process to find the right plant. Any recommendations (or warnings against those listed above) would be greatly appreciated!!

Kathleen Rogers

Answer: Of the suggested plants, I'd choose red tip photinia. While it is somewhat prone to leaf spot, you can help your hedge avoid such problems by pruning it back in the fall. This will encourage healthy new growth (which is the beauty of the plant - new growth is red, turning to glossy green), and pruning will remove some of the older growth which is where the fungal spores live. Photinia is fast growing and produces a nice, dense hedge. My second choice would be escallonia. The foliage is lovely, it's relatively disease resistant, and the pink blooms are a bonus. It has no bad habits - it just doesn't grow quite as fast as photinia. My last choice would be camellia. While it's a lovely plant, it can be painfully slow growing - not the best choice if you want a fast-growing hedge. Good luck with your new hedge!

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