USDA Zone 9 partial screening trees/shrubs

Hi All,
I have a question which I am sure has been asked many times before about screening plants (for zone 9). I have a picket fence approx. 4ft (1.2m) high and 15ft (4.5m) in length which I would like to plant in front of. I am not looking for a complete privacy screening hedge nor something that is super tall.
Ideally I am looking for a medium coverage, approx. 10ft (3m) tall.
Suggestions so far have been pittosporums, bamboo or conifers, none of which I am really interested in.
Any thoughts? I have tossed up ideas about weeping trees of some sort like a weeping cherry that would grow higher than the pickets then cascade over slightly.
Thanks Heaps
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I live in USDA zone 9b myself and I don't know of anything other than some hedges that will grow like you want them to. How about covering your fence with erect blackberries and get some fruit and a good screen. Don't know if they will reach ten feet though.
George
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Thanks George,
It doesn't necessarily need to be ten feet exactly - anywhere between 6 - 12 feet is fine. I would prefer at least 6 foot to ensure that there is a little bit extra height behind the picket.
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Joe wrote:

I'm gonna suggest Crepe Myrtle. Nice blooms in several colors availble. fast enough growing. can be pruned/trained to be as dense or 'loose' as desired.
I dunno
Carl
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Thank you for your suggestions..
I am looking at crape myrtles at the moment and there are some semi-dwarf varieties where the height is about right. Not sure on the form though, but they are pretty when in flower.
I am still looking at options such as a weeping cherry (not sure on height), hibiscus, plumbago etc. There is no restrictions such as powerlines or depth issues (it is on the backyard side of the fence) so if anyone has any other ideas I am more than open to suggestions. I am looking to get them in the garden in the next month or so.
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Joe wrote:

Hmm, I figured you could just keep the CMs trimmed to the height you wanted - probably only need to do that once a year. I have some in my neighborhood that have been allowed to grow to tree height. I have kept mine at around eight feet for years.
good luck
Carl
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I really like Viburnum tinus. It is blooming now and will have great metallic blue berries when it finishing blooming. It is evergreen.
Also good is weeping Bottlebrush, Callistemon citrinus, Bottlebrush bright red blossoms, loved by hummingbirds. Evergreen.
Osmanthus is also nice. Fragrant blooms in early winter. Holly like foliage. Evergreen.
All can be grown as a bushy shrub or pruned up in a multitrunked small tree form.
Emilie NorCal
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I love crepe myrtle, they're beautiful and fairly drought tolerant. You can shape them as traditional trees, or the multi-trunk kind turn out in a bowl shape. Do you want something that is evergreen or deciduous? How neat do they need to be? Crepe myrtle leaves are small and break down well, so if they're in the back 40 you could just leave them as mulch. You might want to buy them in bloom to be sure you get the color combo you like.
Ceanothus are great too. They are drought tolerant California natives and become billowy open shrubs. Their flowers range from deep luminous blue to white. Their flowers smell like heaven. Prunus are great old standbys. You can shape them or let them go wild.
FYI, I would NEVER plant bamboo in the open ground. It is invasive and impossible to eradicate - I've seen it growing up through asphalt!
Try the USDA / Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS database at : http://plants.usda.gov/index.html They have an incredible database. They also have a search page where you can set criteria like growth requirements, usage, etc, etc, etc here: http://plants.nrcs.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl vquery/adv_query.html This provides hours of fun for garden geeks like me! It's the most impressive plant search I've seen on the net. Our tax dollars at work - what a concept!
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I suggest you beg, borrow, or steal a copy of Dirr's Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates. You will find MANY shrubs listed to fit your application.
Besides the zone, are you in a rainy or dry climate? That will make a difference.
Most bamboo is highly invasive, and I would not recommend it.
If you get a fair amount of rain, you could consider some of the viburnums, in particular, Viburnum suspensum, V. tinus, or V. odoratissimum. They all grow in zone 9, are evergreen, reach approimately the height you are requesting, and are sturdy, attractive plants readily available at garden centers. Of these, I would choose V. odoratissimum if you have sun, V.tinus if you have shade or mostly shade, V. suspensum if you have at least half sun and sandy soil.
M.
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Mike On the North Carolina coast - Zone 8a (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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