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January 20, 2018
Our long term (previously healthy) elaeagnus lining our backyard appears to be dying
now. Many branches have simply turned dry & brown. We do have a sprinkler. Would
you please advise?
We had an exceptionally dry fall and early winter. That, coupled with the low temperatures
and the length of those low temps will lead to some plant damage. We won't know how
much until plants begin to grow in the spring. We still have a bit of winter left
to go. For now, just wait and see what happens for the rest of the winter. Assess
them in the spring and see how they come out. Give them a chance to grow in the spring
and then decide what to do with them.
October 31, 2015
We are planning to put in a hedge to screen us from the property next door. I think
Elaeagnus would be best to reach at least 6 feet and would grow quickly. There are
many varieties of Elaeagnus and I am somewhat confused as to which one would be the
best and will grow in north central Arkansas. Also, how invasive are the roots and
what is the best month to plant? Can you help?
There are several varieties of elaeagnus, but I would avoid Russian olive (Elaeagnus
angustifolia) and Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus umbellate), since both can be invasive.
Thorny elaeagnus (Elaeagnus pungens) is a great evergreen shrub which is blooming
right now. The flowers are as fragrant as gardenias, but hidden within the bushes.
They tend to have a few wild sprouts periodically throughout the year requiring a
little pruning. Another one that is not as common in central or northern Arkansas
is Elaeagnus multiflora or goumi berry, which does produce edible berries, but is
deciduous. Overall, your best bet would be the thorny elaeagnus. They are quite
winter hardy, so fall planting would work well—any time from now through spring is
Could you give me a pointer on pruning our eleagnus bushes?
Eleagnus is a great hedge or foundation planting. If it is growing too tall, it can
be height controlled by selective pruning. I personally don’t like the looks of a
sheared plant, but prefer a more natural look with selective branch pruning. If you
need to take off more than 1/3, do so quickly to allow for new growth to kick in.
Eleagnus are notorious for having a bad hair day 2-3 times a season—they send up huge
sprouts periodically that need to be sheared and managed. Other than that, they are
great plants with fabulously fragrant flowers in the fall.
What shrub would you recommend as a hedge in the Cammack Village area? I'd like to
create a living screen to hide a shed & work area in the backyard. The shed sits at
the back of the property which is fairly narrow & deep like a rectangle. What vine
would you recommend to use for a small arbor which located just out the back door
of the house on the same property?
Is the area shaded where the hedge will be planted? If so here are some good choices:
wax myrtle, illicium (Florida anise), cherry laurel and Sweet bay magnolia--this last
one is not evergreen. In sunny conditions you can use Little Gem magnolia, one of
the hollies- Foster, Yaupon, Lusterleaf, Nelly R. Stevens; or eleagnus. For the vine,
you could use a mix: trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, akebia and some annual vines:
moon flower morning-glory, cypress vine and hyacinth bean.
I am interested in planting a privacy hedge between me and an untidy neighbor. Would
you compare Russian Olive versus Nellie Stephens Holly that you have recommended in
the past. Where can I see a Nellie Stephens Hedge and also purchase it?
Russian olive is much more wild and wooly than Nellie R. Stephens Holly. Russian olive
(Elaeagnus angustifolia) is a form of eleagnus, but it is often considered an invasive
plant in most states other than in the south, where it can struggle to grow well.
A better form of Elaeagnus would be Elaeagnus pungens, which has broad evergreen foliage.
It has some wild days where it throws up tall shoots that need management, but it
makes a nice hedge. In either instance the holly would be much more manicured and
well behaved. Most nurseries in Arkansas should have the holly.
I hope you can identify a plant from a description, since it wasn't my plant to take
cuttings from. It is a hedge plant, or at least used as one in this landscape. The
shrub is thick-stemmed with alternate, smooth edged leaves with a slight rippling
effect. The underside of the leaves are speckled, the stems are white with tiny speckles
similar to what is on the underside of the leaf. It also had a 1/2 inch white tubular
bloom in October that smelled really good!
From your great description, I believe you have Elaeagnus pungens. It is an evergreen
hedge or large shrub with a silvery back to the leaf coupled with the small brown
scales you noticed. Some folks think the brown scales are an insect infestation, but
it is a natural occurrence. The fall blooms smell as sweet as gardenia's but they
are hidden within the plant. Although not showy in appearance, their fragrance spreads
throughout the landscape in a season when we need a little boost!
I have a new home that is surrounded by woods. We have quite a few deer that we are
feeding in the woods. I want to landscape the front of my house soon. Can you tell
me any plants that deer are not interested in? The house will have northern exposure.
The sun comes across the house so the front has sun most of the day.
We do have a list of deer resistant plants that we can send you. However, one word
of warning: if you are feeding the deer, you are encouraging them. As long as you
continue to have food for them, they should be happy, but if it runs out they can
wreak havoc on your landscape. If desperate enough, they can begin to feed on supposedly
deer resistant plants. Boxwoods and yaupon hollies are two standard evergreen plants
that they usually steer clear of. Others include buckeye, elaeagnus, abelia, nandina
and aucuba. On the flip side, they love azaleas, hosta and daylilies, so you may want
to avoid those.
I need your help. We have cut down most of our red-tips because of the fungus. I have
fought it for so long and now it has spread to all of them and we had so many. Now
we want to replace them and we don't know what to put there. We would like something
that grows well with no disease problems. I thought you might have some suggestions.
Redtop photenias have really been hit hard by the leaf spot fungus and are dying across
the south. You are wise to stop fighting it, and replace. There are numerous options.
You can use Nelly R. Stephens holly, Foster Holly, Elaeagnus, Green Giant Arborvitae,
winter honeysuckle, and cherry laurel, just to name a few. Visit with your local nursery
and look at the plants, and see which ones you like best.
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