I am looking to discover whether there is a native tree or shrub suitable for hiding the fence between my yard and that of the neighbour.
It needs to be manageable so preferably something that will not grow to more than 4 metres high
I'd also prefer something that is leafy rather than spiky and
A plant that grows in a compact way (such as one might use for a hedge), so not more than about 75cm round and more upright than spreading - or something easily trimmed and trained
The thing is that I currently have a strip of soil against the fence that is about 1 metre wide. Currently it has some large native trees in it. They are wonderful, very tall and stout and spreading to give masses of shade. However, when they were planted there was only a grassed area in the neighboring yard. Since that time, the neighbour chose to move their garage and their drive-way from the far side of their house to my side of it. They then put in a paved drive-way to the garage. Now they are bothered by the trees for they think that their roots will disturb their paving. They also dislike the fact that the branches grow over the fence onto their side. I try to keep them cut back but am now well over 70 and it is becoming more difficult as I have mobility problems. I am a low income pensioner and can't afford to pay for the job to be done and it is not only pruning the trees but also getting rid of the cut branches etc. that is increasingly a problem for me.
As, when we came here, we re-planted the gardens, back and front, with only native plants, preferably indigenous to this area, I don't want to introduce a non-native species but I do need to remove the large trees and replace with something more easy to maintain and less likely to create friction or stress on the part of the neighbors.
I'd appreciate any suggestions anyone can make. I'm not a gardener - my wife was the one with the knowledge and I've just done the heavy lifting (so to speak) but she has left and so now I'm struggling a little with exactly what to do to keep all healthy and to reduce the maintenance because of my physical problems and ageing.
Thank you, in anticipation, and I apologise if I haven't made myself clear or have been too wordy. I'm new to this. roger.
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Hi Roger (@nonsibicunctis)
Welcome to Workshop. Many thanks for sharing photos and a thorough description of your challenge. Before I tag some of our helpful members who I'm sure would be happy to assist, can you please tell us where you are based and what type of soil you have? It might be important for the plant recommendations.
Please let me know if you ever need a hand getting the most from the site, or ever have any feedback about how we can make Workshop even more useful to you.
My apologies, I (stupidly) hadn't realised that this wasn't a localised forum.
I'm situated in South Toowoomba, Queensland - the town is actually situated on the site of an extinct volcano. We're on the top of the Great Dividing Range at about 700 metres above sea level.
As I mentioned, I think, I'm not a gardener so not really acquainted with how to recognise or describe particular types of soil. However, I've attached a couple of pictures which *may* be of help.
My attempt to describe the soil would be that it is generally quite hard, perhaps claylike. The border in question here has about 3 or 4 inches of top soil spread on it about ten years ago, when the trees where planted, and in between was covered in a couple of inches of pine-bark mulch. In that time it hasn't had a lot of attention but has had seasonal foliage (if you can call it that - it's tiny & needle-like & another reason I need to replace these trees). This soil is quite 'friable', I think is the correct term, at any rate it is crumbly and loose and very black compared to what is underneath which is hard, clumpy and more brown than black.
Hope that helps. r.
Some suggestions for you:
Westringia (Coastal Rosemary) - silvery grey foliage, blue - pink flowers; many named varieties
Adenanthos sericeus (Woolly Bush) - soft foliage that looks spikey but isn't; again there are many varieties and also other species
Callistemon (Bottlebrush) - many species and named varieties with flowers from crimson red through pinks to white
Syzygium (Lilly Pilly) - many different varieties of varying heights; new foliage tinged copper or bronze
Waterhousia floribunda (Weeping Lilly Pilly) - more vigorous but responds well to regular pruning
These are all great hedging/screening plants but to thicken them up so they form a good screen, they will all need regular trimming. Once they have bushed out all you need to do is clip the tops and sides to keep them neat and at the desired height.
Thank you for those suggestions, Noelle. I certainly think that a couple of them might do the job. I already have some Bottle-Brush on the other side of the garden and it grows well but is possibly too spreading for what I want here. I don't want to have to trim too often, if I can avoid it but, not really having green fingers or any real knowledge, perhaps I'll have to do that whatever I put in. No matter, I really do appreciate your suggestions.
All plants need some sort of pruning or cutting back to keep them thick and tidy.
What @Noelle has suggested are all good native plants for hedging.
If you keep them to a size where you can shape them from the ground, it would eliminate the need to climb a ladder.
As for the Melaleucas that are there at the moment, why not find someone who might have a fire pit or even a pot belly stove in the shed etc.
Offer the wood to them free if they remove it.
That would save you a lot of work and stress.
In Toowoomba there should be someone around that might want it. It does get cold there I believe.
Plant your new plants around the stumps. I had a large Melaleuca in the back which split in the wind and I removed the upper and left the stump. After a few years the stump rotted and I just lifted it up out of the ground.
They don't seem to have a big root system by the look of it, as your brick edging seems to be intact.