The Q&A Archives: California Zone 9 hedge recommendation

Question: Hi,

I live in Palo Alto, California in an area generally classified as Zone 9. I need to plant a tall (+10 feet) relatively narrow (2-3 feet) dense full screen hedge/barrier from the street and the school across the street. I have an area with approximately 83 linear feet which is generally shaded receiving direct sun 25% and indirect light approximately 75% of the day. The soil is standard California clay. For dog proofing/security there will be a 6 foot fence made of either wood or link depending upon garden design and plant selection.

The most common plant hedge used here is Pittosporum undulatum. I was hoping to find something more consistent with my 1904 Victorian house. I have reviewed different holly's and was wondering if Dragon Lady Meschick, Yule Brite Koehne, or another selection might thrive with a link fence under my circumstances? Are there other suggestions? Japanese Mapels (wood fence), birch (wood fence), or camilia (link fence)? As I'm in the design stage, I am completley open to suggestions.

Many thanks for your kind assistance.


Answer: I think Green Tower Boxwood would be the perfect plant for your hedge. Just 2 feet wide but reaching 9 feet tall, this columnar evergreen offers year-round beauty with almost no effort on your part.

The habit of this plant is very dense, yet it keeps its neat, straight-up-and-down shape, as if you'd just finished shearing it! In fact, you never have to do a thing to the foliage, but if you want to shape it, Green Tower is dense enough to create topiary without leaving unsightly gaps and holes.

The foliage is medium- to fine-textured, giving Green Tower a full, solid look even from a young age. Expect it to reach about 5 feet tall within 5 years in partial shade.

As for the hollies you've been checking out, they, too, will grow in a partially shady spot and will be attractive all year; camellias are evergreen but wider than the planting site. They bloom in late fall or early winter.

Best wishes with your new hedge.

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