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Q.Hedge next to a block wall

Zone 85085 | Anonymous added on February 14, 2020 | Answered

I am wanting a hedge in a raised flower bed to shield a view of roof tops. I live in Arizona. I am considering oleander or Indian laurel column but have two landscapers with different opinions on the roots. Do you know which one does more damage? Can’t ruin the wall is my concern

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 14, 2020

There are multiple plant species called "Indian laurel", but in Phoenix that usually refers to Ficus nitida, Indian laurel fig. This is definitley a larger plant/medium size tree and with potenially large trunk and expansive, invasive root system. Not suitable for the planting bed along the wall in the photo.

Oleander will be the better of the two and will give you the benefit of beautiful flowering, for which you can choose a variety with flower color and size of growth that you favor.

I would be more concerned about the integrity and possible damage in time to the low planter wall in front, more so than the larger block wall in back. I can't see how wide that planter is, but a tall growing oleander too will have lateral roots that spread and possibly push or undermine an unreinforced planter wall.

If the planter is narrow, less than five or six feet wide, I would recommend installing a high trellis against the wall, extending one or two feet higher, and planting a vine to achieve the screening you need. And that may allow for additional plantings along the inside of the wall with small shrubs or bedding plants for a seasonal colorful border.

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