I have an irrigation zone that feeds a hedge of Varigated Pittosporums, Red
Robin Photinia, and some Oleanders. The irrigation lines are rubber hoses
on either side of the hedge roots. In observing these in action, the water
trickles out in random locations along the irrigation hoses, and the water
isn't really effectively concentrating in the roots of each plant.
My questions are:
1) Does it make any sense to add a loop around the base of each hedge, to
concentrate water directly onto each plant's roots?
2) Do any of these three species require proportionately more water than the
others, maybe arguing for an irrigation loop around the base of just that
All of these send out spreading roots. If they are established, uneven
watering should not be a problem.
The oleander is drought-tolerant and requires less water than the
Pittosporum or Photinia.
If you live in southern California, your oleander is doomed. There is a
blight that first appeared in San Diego County and is now seen at least
as far north as Ventura County. Oleanders are dying, and there is no
treatment yet that will save them. I already see dying oleanders in
Agoura Hills (LA County) and Thousand Oaks (Ventura County).
Yes, it is quite toxic. But then it is also quite bitter. No one --
especially a child -- would eat enough to cause a problem.
Generally, oleander poisoning occurs in parks. Stupid people cut long
thin branches -- vandalizing public property -- and use them as skewers
to BBQ hotdogs or toast marshmallows.
A leaf from a peach tree might be more toxic (cyanide) than a leaf from
oleander. A pet might die eating foxglove flowers (digitalis) as easily
as eating oleander flowers. Watch out for raw rhubarb, star jasmine,
holly berries, and other attractive vegetation in our gardens.
I understand that the seeds in an apple are quite toxic. Unbroken, they
travel through the digestive tract without any problem. Even slightly
broken while chewing the edible part of an apple, they can make you ill.
One of the worst is the kernel inside a peach pit. It looks like an
almond (a close relative). It can kill you.
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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