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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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REDTWIG DOGWOOD, RED-OSIER DOGWOOD Cornus stolonifera (C. sericea) Cornaceae Rapid growth to 7-9’ tall x 12’ wide Full sun or light shade Regular water Deciduous The redtwig dogwood is grown for its brilliant red fall foliage and winter twigs. It can be cut back severely in winter to control size. Spreads by creeping underground stems and rooting branches. May be kept smaller by cutting spreading roots with a spade, and trimming branches that touch the ground. Oval, 1½" to 2½" long, deep green leaves.

Small creamy white flowers in 2 inch clusters appear in summer, followed by white or bluish fruits. Great space filler and nice winter interest.

Tip: Cut back about one-third of old wood in late winter or early spring to keep bright red stems coming back.

COTINUS (koe-TYE-nuhs) Smoke tree Anacardiaceae 12–15’ tall Full sun Moderate water Deciduous shrub or tree Unusual and colorful shrub-tree creating broad, urn-shaped mass usually as wide as high.

Naturally multi-stemmed, but can be trained to a single trunk. Common name derived from dramatic puffs of “smoke” from fading flowers making stalks clothed in a profusion of fuzzy lavender-pink hairs.

Plants are at their best under stress in poor or rocky soil. In cultivated gardens, give them fast drainage and avoid overly wet conditions. Resistant to oak root fungus. Often they are more like big shrubs. They do like water but it must drain quickly.

Tip: Give Cotinus a little filtered shade during the heat of the summer for best color and plant health. Natural growth is an interesting shape.

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Small oval leaves vary in shades of green, some turn red in the fall; large varieties look best with natural fountain growth pattern. Can be cut and thinned to shape. Tiny flowers are white or pinkish followed by orange or red berries that birds love. The small varieties can be used in rock gardens or against walls. Prefers well drained slightly alkaline soil.

Tip: The smaller, compact Cotoneasters are very graceful and pretty. The large varieties grow very long fountain branches and need a lot of room to grow naturally and can get quite leggy.

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Escallonia exoniensis ‘Fradesii’ PINK PRINCESS ESCALLONIA Native to South America, clean looking, glossy leaves with nearly year-round rich, rosyred flower clusters on this upright, compact shrub. Moderate grower to 5 to 6 ft. tall and wide. May be kept smaller with pinching and it responds well to shearing. Prune by cutting to the base, or shape into multi-trunk trees. Although drought tolerant, the plants look better with regular water. Great for foundation planting along fences and walls, or as individual specimens. May freeze at 15o, but will come back.

Tip: To insure an abundance of delightful flower clusters, feed with an all purpose fertilizer in spring before new growth emerges.

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Glossy, deep green leaves 1-2½" long, variegated forms as shown above are widely used.

Flowers are inconspicuous. Best in full sun with air circulation to reduce powdery mildew. Used in hedges or as individual specimen in garden, in planting strips (along the house or fence line). Susceptible to some insects. Many species available with other forms, leaf variegations and sizes.

Tip: Emerald Gold Euonymous is fun to watch all year round as its colors change from green to pinkish leaves as the season progresses from spring to winter.

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Species: E. acraeus or E. pectinatus Daisy-like yellow flowers and finely divided leaves on a mounded shrub. Good container plant. Most common is E. pectinatus which has green leaves and a long flowering season. Makes a good filler, background plant, or low screen. E. acraeus has silvergreen leaves and blooms in May and June. Cut back in late spring or early summer to maintain compactness.

Tip: For best effect, hide the legs of the Euryops daisy by planting other flowering plants, such as blue Ageratum and Purple Wave Petunias at the base.

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Fast growing evergreen, with dark, leathery leaves above and felt-like undersides. Showy saucer-shaped yellow blossoms. Shallow rooted so sometimes needs to be staked while young. Pinch young growth to encourage branching. Truly one of the beauties of the foothills. Blooms are so profuse, it can appear to be on fire.

Tip: For a less profuse but longer bloom time, try Fremontia mexicanum with its brilliant display of orange-tinted yellow blooms

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Needs rich, fast draining soil with plenty of organic matter, fertilize with acid plant food.

Prune to keep shape, remove dead wood and spent flowers. White, fragrant flowers bloom spring and summer, and display shiny dark green leaves. Pretty shrub year around.

Several varieties, large and miniature.

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6-10’ tall Full sun or partial shade Regular water Deciduous This shrub produces 2-4” single, double, or semi-double flowers throughout summer.

Flower colors are white, pink, red, blue, and violet bi-colors often with a conspicuous red to purple throat. Foliage is light green. Plant likes moist, well-drained soil. Good lateblooming color. Can be kept short for hedge, or used as specimen plant. A beautiful plant in moonlight as well as daylight.

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Rounded, fast-growing, shrub with thick, shiny coarsely toothed leaves. Blooms in summer with pink, red, or blue flowers in big, long lasting clusters. Prune as needed to control form after bloom. Lace cap hydrangea, features a cluster of small fertile flowers surrounded by a ring of big sterile ones.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (H. quercifolia ) is a rounded shrub to 6’ tall x 8’ wide. Leaves resemble oaks, turn bronze or crimson in fall, elongated clusters of white flowers in late spring and early summer, turn purple with age. Some varieties described: ‘Snow Queen’ has larger flower clusters, ‘Snowflake’ bears double flowers, ‘Vaughn’s Lillie’ has extraordinary full heads of white flowers. Prune after bloom.

Tip: Cut flowers for drying in late summer or fall when heads have matured and developed a papery consistency.

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6–8’ tall and wide, or trained as tree 15–40’ tall and 10–25’ wide Partial shade in hot valley locations Regular water Evergreen, deciduous Most varieties need rich, slightly acid soil with good drainage. All do better with a mulch to deter weeds and keep soil cool and moist. Sun is best for compact growth and good berries, but performs best in Tulare/Kings counties with partial late afternoon shade. Prune for shape and to remove dead branches. Shortened branches allow new growth to fill in. Some can be sheared into hedges or topiary plants.

Many varieties available for different areas of the garden or in containers. For best berry formation, plant both a male and female plant of the same species.

Tip: Holly berries are mildly toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested by people. However they are extremely important food for numerous species of birds, and also are eaten by other wild animals.

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10-20’ tall and wide Full sun to light shade Moderate to regular water Evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous J. mesnyi - This primrose jasmine is commonly seen on freeway medians or cascading down embankments. Long arching vining branches 4 to 6’ long. Dark green leaves with three lance-shaped leaflets. Bright lemon yellow unscented flowers. Main bloom in winter or spring but can surprise you with sporadic blooms. Needs room to grow or severe pruning if unruly, but nearly indestructible. Great for soil erosion, pergolas, or walls. Tie it up to a certain height and then let it cascade down for a waterfall effect.

J. parkeri - A true shrub. Evergreen dwarf twiggy to 1’tall and 1-2’ wide. Bright green leaflets with small scentless flowers. Profuse flowers in spring. Great choice for a rock garden or container.

Tip: These viney-shrubs grow rapidly in good soil and bloom more profusely in sunny sites.

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Junipers are conifers however they produce berry-like fruits instead of woody cones. Shrub types include mounding, spreading, irregularly twisted, or spire-like forms. Sizes range from low ground covers to large trees. Leaf color can include shades of green as well as soft creamyyellow, silvery-blue and even bright yellow. There is a juniper to fit every need. Consider mature size when making a selection. Common mistake is to plant too large a juniper in too small a space. They are hardy in winter months. Avoid planting junipers near lawn sprinklers and over watering junipers in general or they will develop root rot.

Tip: Junipers offer great texture and provide an evergreen backdrop to more colorful blooming plants.

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Plant height ranges from less than 3’ to more than 20’, making it one of the most versatile plants. Because white, pink, lavender or red flowers bloom on new wood, prune in winter. Leaves of some cultivars produce brilliant fall color. For strong growth and abundant flowering, plant crape myrtle in full sun. Mildew can be a problem; best solution is to plant mildew-resistant hybrids. If wanting a shrub and not a tree, pay special attention to label when making a selection. Plants perform best with infrequent but deep watering.

Tip: It is possible to encourage additional flowering in the same season by removing spent blossoms before they set seed.

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Fast growing 2-3’ tall by 6-8’ wide, Full sun Moderate water, tolerates drought Evergreen Blossoms of yellow, pink, and purple, tiny flowers in tight clusters are valued for profuse show of color over long season. Light frosts keep shrub in check. Heavy frosts may seriously damage or kill plants in some, but not all winters. Prune hard in spring to remove dead wood and prevent woodiness. Too much water and fertilizer reduces bloom.

‘Confetti’ has beautiful spreading form and does well as an accent or low hedge. ‘Gold Rush’ is a smaller variety, 1½-2’ by 4-6’, and some dwarf varieties average 2-4’ tall and wide.

Tip: This heat loving, mounding shrub attracts butterflies with its explosion of colorful blossoms.


(lor-oh-PET-uh-lum) Fringe flower Loropetalum chinense Hamamelidaceae 6-10’ tall and as wide Full sun to partial shade Regular water Evergreen Native to China and Japan; neat, compact habit with tiers of arching or drooping branches and nearly round, soft textured leaves 1-2" long. Flowering is heaviest in spring, but blooms may appear at any time, even winter. Can take any amount of pruning to control shape. Provide well drained soil, rich in organic matter. Feed with an acid fertilizer after bloom, and keep roots cool with a thick layer of mulch. ‘Sizzling Pink’ blooms winter into spring and sporadically throughout the year. Showy new growth is deep burgundy, remaining purple tinged all year. ‘Razzleberri’ has clusters of raspberry red fringed flowers throughout the year. New growth is burgundy tinged, maturing to olive green.

Tip: The green or burgundy foliage is attractive filler in floral arrangements. Young plants can be used in hanging baskets.

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Dense shiny deep green spiny leaves divided into leaflets, quite prickly. Clusters of yellow flowers in spring producing blue-black berries later. Needs good soil, good drainage.

Several varieties available for this area. Berries make good jelly. Most need pruning to control rank growth, spreads by roots. Pretty plant all year, easy to grow.

Tip: Because it has prickly leaves, Mahonia can help deter intruders when planted under windows.

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Height: 5–6’ high, 4–5’ wide Full sun or partial shade Little to moderate water Evergreen Rounded plant is bulky and dense but has fine-textured foliage. Glossy bright green leaves are pointed, 1-2" long, aromatic when bruised. White, sweet scented, small flowers bloom in summer, followed by bluish black berries. Takes any soil, needs good drainage, not a lot of water. Some have pretty, peeling red bark. Can be pruned to almost any shape, even topiaries, hedges or small trees. Needs to be shaped about twice a year. Flowers and small berries on largest cultivars can be messy. M. buxifolia has small ½-1" leaves. M. variegata has white-edged leaves.

Tip: Because sheared leaves hardly show on Myrtle, it is one of the best plants for topiaries. In the garden, birds love the density of this shrub.

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Lightly branched, cane-like stems and delicate, fine-textured, lacy looking foliage. Slow to moderate growth. New foliage is pinkish and bronzy red, turning to soft light green, taking on purple and bronze in the fall, and fiery crimson in winter. Does best in rich soil and regular water. Un-pruned plants become top heavy, prune old canes at the base or at varying heights in the spring to encourage denser foliage. Variety ‘Fire Power’ grows to 2’ tall and wide. Brilliant crimson foliage in fall and winter. Neat, rounded shrub requires no pruning, makes a nice specimen, or use several in a grouping.

Tip: Avoid the mistake of over pruning so that stems are like legs of flamingos. Instead strive for a cascade of lacy leaves from top to bottom of the shrub.

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Narrow, 4–12’ long, dark green leathery leaves, some semi-glossy. Blooms late spring to fall. Flowers in colors from white to shades of yellow, pink, salmon, and red. Some are fragrant. Nice shrub in all seasons. It is facing a threat from leaf scorch, a bacterial disease spread by the glassy-winged sharpshooter (an insect pest). No cure is known, although the disease’s progress may be slowed by pruning out bad parts (sterilize tools after each cut). All parts are toxic if ingested, smoke from this plant can cause irritation.

Tip: Dwarf varieties are useful in a smaller garden. All varieties are toxic if ingested.

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