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«Shrubs for San Joaquin Valley and Foothill Landscapes Recommended by UC Master Gardeners of Tulare & Kings Counties Page 2 Shrubs for San Joaquin ...»

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for San Joaquin Valley and Foothill


Recommended by

UC Master Gardeners of Tulare & Kings Counties

Page 2 Shrubs for San Joaquin Valley and Foothill Landscapes


The shrubs that are featured in this booklet are proven

winners in our local area, covering valley and foothill

areas of Kings and Tulare Counties. We have featured

shrubs that we have had success with in our own gardens

and that we find of particular value in the landscape. We realize that this is only a partial list of available plants and there are many new varieties of shrubs that are being developed and released by the California nursery industry each year. We hope that the information provided will help you in selecting and caring for these wonderful components of our landscapes, SHRUBS.

Compiled by...... ANN BELAU





Master Gardeners of Tulare & Kings Counties Edited by Michelle Le Strange, Master Gardener Advisor With contributions from Pam Geisel, California Master Gardener Program Coordinator University of California Cooperative Extension January 2007 Page 3 Shrubs for San Joaquin Valley and Foothill Landscapes Contents GENUS* Common Name Botanical Family ABUTILON Flowering Maple Malvaceae AUCUBA Japanese Aucuba Cornaceae BERBERIS Barberry Berberidaceae BUDDLEJA Butterfly Bush Buddlejaceae BUXUS Boxwood Buxaceae CALLISTEMON Bottlebrush Myrtaceae CAMELLIA Camellia Theaceae Carpenteria californica Bush Anemone Philadelphaceae CEANOTHUS Wild Lilac Rhamnaceae CHAENOMELES Flowering Quince Rosaceae CHAMAECYPARIS Sawara False Cypress Cupressaceae COLEONEMA Breath of Heaven Rutaceae CORNUS Redtwig Dogwood Cornaceae COTINUS

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Shrubs are major components of most landscapes. They are used to screen, direct traffic, as accents, for wildlife habitats, as windbreaks, as fill and foundational plantings and for color and texture in the landscape. How we use shrubs should dictate the species selection for any given landscape. Before purchasing any shrubs, decide the ultimate use and make sure that the chosen plants fit the needs. Also make sure that cultural practices are appropriate for the species. For example, it isn’t uncommon to see flowering quince sheared into a boxy shape resulting in an odd flowering habit associated with the incorrect pruning method for the species.

Consideration should also be given to the need for color. There are many deciduous and evergreen shrubs that contribute not only flower color but also berry, bark, and foliage color to the landscape. For example, leaves with white or yellow variegation can brighten up a dark corner. Spring flowering shrubs such as hydrangea contribute large showy flowers in spring.

Evergreen shrubs such as juniper come in a variety of foliage colors and contribute significantly to a garden in winter.

Shrub form is also important. Shrubs may be columnar, round headed, spreading and prostrate, or pyramidal. These shapes can add dimension and movement to a landscape. The columnar shape of a juniper repeated down a long driveway can add a sense of drama to the approach of your home.

The key to successful shrub selection however, is ultimate size. Shrubs are a permanent part of the landscape. They should be enjoyed for many years with little maintenance. We often plant shrubs (or small trees) that are too large for the site and as such must be frequently pruned to keep them confined. It is important that the ultimate size of the shrub be taken into consideration prior to planting to avoid frequent maintenance requirements.

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Start training your hedges very early. A well-shaped hedge will have been trained regularly and carefully from planting throughout the life of the hedge. Start with nursery stock that has multiple stems if possible. Cut plants back 6-8 inches when planting to induce low branching and more “bushy” growth. Late in the fall or before bud break in the spring, prune off half of the new growth. The following year trim that off by half again.

In the 3rd season, begin to shape the hedge. Know what sort of shape you want from your hedge at planting time. If you want a solid screen from top to bottom, it is important to keep the bottom wider than the top. Otherwise the top foliage will shade out the lower foliage leaving an open hedge at the base.

Correct hedging technique Incorrect

Many people hedge plants so that they have a flat top. This usually isn’t successful and is a shape that is difficult to maintain without very frequent hedging. This is also true of hedges that have straight lines instead of peaked or rounded form. It is best to allow the shrubs to grow in a rounded shape, which is what nature intended. This shape will also require much less trimming.

Rounded forms need less frequent trimming Straight lines require more frequent trimming Trimming or shearing frequency will depend on the form and species of hedge. Generally, they should be sheared before the growth exceeds 1 foot. Boxwoods and other slow growing hedges will require pruning before that to maintain a clean shape and neat appearance.

If hedges have grown out of bounds and have become severely overgrown, it may be better to replace the hedge than try to rejuvenate them. Evergreen shrubs are less tolerant of the severe pruning that is usually required to get them back into shape. If some rejuvenation is possible, start by cutting the shrubs back each year by no more than 20-30% of the overall growth until the hedge is at the desired height and shape. Shear frequently to keep plants full. Deciduous shrubs can be cut back to a foot below the desired height in the spring before the new leaves appear. Then trim regularly for the next few years until the hedge has grown into the desired shape and fullness.

Page 7 ABUTILON (uh-BEW-tuh-lon) Flowering Maple, Chinese Bellflower, Chinese Lantern Malvaceae 8–10’ tall and wide Partial shade Moderate to regular water Evergreen Broad maple-like leaves, some variegated. Drooping bell-like flowers appear in white, yellow, pink, orange, or red. While the main bloom season is spring, many cultivars bloom year-round. Nice container plant, a few are striking as hanging plants. Fairly rich soil, good drainage is needed. Pinching branch tips will control size, make it bushier.

This is a charming plant, easy to grow if you have the right place.

Tip: Abutilon makes a fine central valley substitute for cool-weather loving fuchsias. They are available in a wide variety of colors.

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6-10’ tall and as wide but easily trimmed to reduce size Full shade in hot valley areas Regular irrigation Evergreen Toothed leaves 3 to 8" long with differing leaf form, can be green or variegated by species. Used well in shady areas (protected from hot valley sun), several variegated leaf varieties add interest in these darker spots, good patio plant set in tubs. Small maroon flowers turn to berry clusters in late fall to winter. If a full crop is desired, both sexes must be planted. Green-leafed ‘Rozannie’ is self-fruiting and will produce a full crop without a pollenizer. Grows at a moderate rate to full size.

Tip: Keep humus mulch or compost several inches away from the plant to avoid fungus. Plant supplies great foliage for the shaded patio garden.

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Dense, spiny-stemmed plants that require no more than ordinary garden care. Normal growth is attractive. Cut out oldest wood each year and prune to shape and desired size after bloom for evergreen, late in the dormant season for deciduous kinds. Can be used for hedges and barriers such as under windows. Most have yellow flowers followed by red, bluish-black, or blue berries. Birds like the berries. The Golden Ring variety has purple leaves with a thin green or golden green border; Rose Glow has new foliage marbled bronze red and pinkish white, darkening with age. Tolerates harsh climate and most soil extremes.

Tip: For a splash of bright yellow to enhance your landscape, consider planting Golden Barberry (Berberis ‘Aurea’). It is beautiful planted near burgundy colored plants.

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Many selections are available and all are valued for their flower color, fragrance, or both. B. davidii is described here. Semi-evergreen, fast growth each spring. Long, narrow 4 to 12” leaves, dark green above, felted beneath. Flowers are slender clusters of small blooms 6 – 12” long, various colors, light fragrance. Prune before spring growth begins. Easy to grow.

Tip: Almost like a summer lilac and it’s called "butterfly bush" for a good reason. Both butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy it.

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The most commonly used shrub for edging and hedges in landscapes. Can be trimmed in many shapes and forms and grown in containers or in the ground. Small glossy leaves are dense and hide pruning cuts. Flowers are inconspicuous. Tolerates dry heat and alkaline soil, but not intense heat or saline soils. Slow and easy to grow, but often neglected. A little extra care leads to improved visual quality. Watch for buildup of scale and mites.

Tip: Who said they must be hedged? They are a beautiful soft and billowing shrub when naturally left alone.

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Growth habits from low-growing with a creeping habit, to upright and tree-like. Some have weeping, pendulous branches and others are dense and compact enough to make good informal hedges. Willow-like evergreen leaves 2-4” long are accented with red, pink or mauve flowers throughout the year. Flowers are round spikes of bristle-like stamens which account for the name bottlebrush. Flowers are followed by woody, bead-like capsules that seem pressed into the bark. The flowers are extremely attractive to hummingbirds and bees. Callistemon viminalis ‘Little John’ is a superior dwarf form, 3-4’ tall and wide, with dense leafy growth and deep red flowers in spring through fall.

Tip: The blossoms are a favorite of hummingbirds and bees the year round.

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Needs moist, rich, well-drained acid soil, protection from very hot sun and drying winds.

Fertilize with acid plant food, do not over fertilize. Keep roots covered with thick layer of organic mulch. Use as specimen plants or shrub borders. Prune lightly after bloom.

Tip: Camellias planted on the north side of houses require less water and suffer less heat and sun stress than when planted on a south or west exposure. Extend bloom time to 6 months or more, by planting a variety of both C. sasanqua and C. japonica camellias.

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California native plant from the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada in the Central Valley. Attractive formal evergreen shrub. Leaves are long and dark above and whitish beneath. Late spring and summer clusters of fragrant yellow centered white flowers appearing at branch ends. This is a tough shrub. It does well in ordinary gardens and resists oak root fungus. Prune to shape after flowering.

Tip: Although a foothill native, they accept ordinary garden conditions of zone 9. If pruning is necessary to shape or restrain growth, do so after flowering.

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In the wild, plants grow on rocky slopes. They need plenty of light and well draining soil in gardens. Flowers bloom in spring and colors range from white through all shades of blue. Generally evergreen, plant habits vary from low and spreading to compact and bushy. They may live up to 10 years but spread their wealth to bees and butterflies. Some watering once established depending on the variety. Small dark green leathery leaves with profuse powder blue flowers. The harbingers of spring.

Tip: A favorite of native plant enthusiasts. Once established, most require little, and in some varieties, no water. Popular Ceanothus varieties include Concha, Ray Hartman and Snowflurry.

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Among the first to bloom each year. Some are thorny, a few are thornless, some have small fruit, all are good as hedges and barriers. Easy to grow, tolerates light to heavy soil.

Prune to shape or to limit growth at any time. New growth will bear next year’s flowers.

Attracts birds. Blooms on small spurs along stems, white and many shades of pink, orange, and red. Leaves are reddish when young, then shiny green.

Tip: Branches can be cut in early spring and forced into bloom in a vase of water indoors.

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C. pisifera 'Boulevard' (cypress) Makes an excellent focal point or specimen plant because the silvery blue-green and soft, short needle-like foliage offers such a lovely color contrast next to green or yellow-leafed plants. Pinch out or cut back tips of new growth to control size and shape, but do not cut into old leafless wood. Needs regular water, good drainage and protection from strong winds. A good entranceway or foundation shrub.

Tip: The lovely blue-gray of Chamaecyparis ‘Boulevard’ is striking with Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ grass planted in front of it.

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C. pulchellum (Pink Breath of Heaven, Pink Diosma) A medium sized upright and dense, billowy evergreen shrub with aromatic soft needlelike (heather-like) leaves. The small star-like pink flowers are held at the ends of the slender branches and bloom spring through fall. A nice plant used along pathways where brushing the foliage brings out its fragrance. Requires regular watering and good drainage. Care, must be taken to not over water. Avoid heavy soils unless planted on a slope. Hardy to 20ºF.

Tip: The delicate, wispy branches of Breath of Heaven make attractive fillers in flower arrangements.

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