Evergreen Shrub Similar to Salal for Privacy

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by mr_stoop, Jan 12, 2024.

  1. mr_stoop

    mr_stoop New Member

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    I am in search of something that will fill in some of the gaps in a natural west coast forest setting to hide my neighbor's place which can be seen through the trees. This particular forest meets an open grassy space with Southern exposure, contains native swordfern, salal, cedar, fir, and hemlock, and is located in North Cowichan, Vancouver Island. The salal is not growing high enough I think due to the full sun it is getting at the forest's edge.

    I would like to find a shrub that is similar to salal, so that it looks like it belongs, to provide privacy. Something which will grow t0 6-10', is drought/heat resistant, and suitable to be under cedar and fir trees. I have been searching the internet to no avail.

    Would anyone happen to have some recommendations? Thank you in advance.

    I would like to add that establishing privacy sooner than later is desired!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2024
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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  4. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Once again, I recommend my favourite, gorgeous shrub - Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) https://nativeplantspnw.com/evergreen-huckleberry-vaccinium-ovatum/
    It has everything going for it . . . evergreen, beautifully coloured new growth and autumn foliage, delicious berries, adaptable to a wide variety of conditions.
    (The first time I ever saw this shrub was on Galiano Island where it was growing in an exposed, full-sun location with no moisture except for occasional rainfall).
    The only thing you might criticize is that it is somewhat slow-growing but well-worth the wait in my opinion. My shrubs are well over 6-feet tall now in a semi-shade garden after maybe 10 years.
     
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  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Population of that species on the island likely to be supported by fog drip. Which can add considerably to annual precipitation totals. Foundation planting at City Hall of Shoreline, Washington which caught my attention for the unusually long vigorous growths it was producing I soon saw was also growing in standing water. A circumstance which was remarkable not only for the huckleberry surviving in it but also apparently thriving. And for the building having surface water right next to its foundation - presumably due to an irrigation system setting being incorrect for the involved soil. Which was being overloaded with water.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2024
  6. Heathen

    Heathen Active Member

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    Two more for your consideration, Arbutus unedo, and Pacific wax myrtle. Both grown fine in my yard in Shawnigan, also with cedars. The deer do occasionally trim the unedo, but never the wax myrtle.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The wax myrtle also has the advantage of growing comparatively rapidly. And being quite pruning tolerant. However, it really wants to be in good light. With leaning and gauntness being seen if there is much shade at all. In addition, it can pick up weevils when overtopped by other trees. As can various other shrubs and perennials.
     
  8. mr_stoop

    mr_stoop New Member

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    I think I like the pacific wax myrtle. I just read that it can grow 3-5' per year and I also like the fact it is a native plant. Thank you for all of your suggestions.
     
  9. mr_stoop

    mr_stoop New Member

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    Much sun does your wax myrtle get? Is it shaded at all by the cedars? Thank you for your suggestions.
     
  10. Heathen

    Heathen Active Member

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    I'd say they get sun from mid-morning until the hot part of the afternoon, varying with the time of year, because my yard is sort of diagonal to the path of the sun. They are not directly under any of the trees, but within the root and shade zones of them. Mine don't grow 3-5 feet a year, but they don't get much water or have good soil either.
     
  11. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I hadn't known that there was a wax myrtle native to BC so I had to look it up. It looks like it could be a good choice for you @mr_stoop . Here are a couple of things I found, if you are interested.
    https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Myrica californica&noTransfer=0
    It grows almost exclusively on the west coast of Vancouver Island. I wonder how hardy it is further from the coast.

    https://nativeplantspnw.com/pacific-wax-myrtle-morella-californica
    "When selecting a wax myrtle, be aware that both female and male plants and are needed to produce fruit."

    "Caution: California Bay Laurel is the main host of Sudden Oak Death syndrome; make sure to inquire about the source and the health of the stock when purchasing these plants."
     

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  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Pacific wax myrtle has been widely planted in the coastal northwest for years. California bay (Umbellularia) is an entirely different plant.
     
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  13. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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  14. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    what is that tourist wood souvenir down 101 on Oregon coast

    burl clocks come to mind :)
     
  15. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    California bay.

    Umbellularia - Wikipedia
     
  16. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    The signs on tourist stores call it something different

    what am I missing

    myrtle?
     
  17. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Don’t forget about rhododendrons for situations like this….
     
  18. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    I don't know of any rhodos that are drought/heat resistant. I have lost a dozen rhodos the past 2 years because they couldn't handle such conditions, worsening every year it seems.
     
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  19. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I agree - I would not choose Rhodo for this

    a neighbour had a huge collection that’s gradually demised over past summers (no watering allowed) (they import species rhodos on that delivery from somewhere in Washington State, and I think picks up at UBC garden)

    salal is great tho takes a long time to establish

    and we always want FireSmart plantings
     
  20. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  21. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The "somewhere" is probably the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way. Most rhododendrons are native to regions with rainy summers, if a property is subject to significant summer dryness on a routine basis it is not a good place for rhododendrons - even the Pacific Coast native Rhododendron macrophyllum is apt to roll up when and if the growing site soil becomes very dry.
     
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  22. Margot

    Margot Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Another shrub that could do very well in for you is Berberis aquifolium, aka Mahonia aquifolium, Tall Oregon Grape.
    Take a look -
    https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Mahonia aquifolium (E-Flora BC; my go-to site for info on BC native plants) and
    https://goert.ca/species/mahonia-aquifolium/ (Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team).

    Mahonia aquifolium
    is often found growing with sword ferns, salal, cedar, fir and hemlock.
    My only reservation would be that it receives enough moisture, especially until it becomes established.
    Water is becoming a limiting factor the past few years even with well-established native plants.
     

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