Privacy Trees and Shrubs: Plants with a Purpose

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on May 14, 2014 10:26:00 AM

privacy screen shrubs

Do you long for more privacy or simply crave a secluded area in your yard?  Perplexed about which plant to choose? We have solutions.

All the options below are evergreen or in laymens terms, GREEN YEAR 'ROUND can provide added privacy and will thrive in Sacramento.  

Problem: Filtered Light or Shade
  • Pygmy Date Palm-
    Get a lush, tropical look with these palms. These are simply amazing planted in upright containers and become instant tropical trees!  Plus, if grown  in containers ,they can be moved to a covered area for winter, as they will not survive frost conditions. 
  • Camellias-  
    These grow to sizes from 3ft up to 10 ft!  These beauties  provide both flowers and evergreen foliage. There are many flower colors to choose from and with a moderate growth rate, Camellias are an exceptional choice for a screen.  Many varieties can be maintained at the height of your choice. These can be grown on a trellis as well.  Remember to plant these with acidic planting mix. 
  • Gardenias-  
    Ideal for east facing locations or in full shade.  Planted in the ground or in a tall container.  The 'Veitchii' variety which blooms from spring into summer with large fragrant flowers is excellent in containers.  (pictured above- Photo credits Doreen Wynja)


Problem: Very Narrow Space
VINES make an excellent option for narrow spots.
  • Evergreen Clematis Vine-
    With large, robust leaves and fragrant spring flowers, this vine is frost hardy too.  Simply place a trellis or support for this vine and it will reward you with goregeous flowers. 
  • The Lavender Trumpet Vine-
    A super solution for a sunny area.  This vine flowers consistently from spring into summer and is also frost hardy. (Pictured below)
privacy screening shrubs
Non-Vine Options:
  • Thuja 'Emerald Green'-
    This is also a cold hardy evergreen that will grow to 12-15 ft and 3-4 feet wide in both morning sun and full sun.
  • Bamboo-
    These remain narrow and upright when contained. Keep in mind  you can plant either running or clumping in a pot! Try 'Budda belly' which will grow to 3-6 ft tall,  depending on the depth of the container. 'Alphonse Karr' and the Mexican Weeping  are also great options. Bamboo can be grown in full sun-  keep well hydrated! Morning sun or filtered sun will make it easier to keep your bamboo happy! 
  • Podocarpus 'Maki'-
    Also known as the or Shrubby Yew Pine. This is a great option for those narrow areas and is a slow grower.  Reaching about 8-12 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It will grow in morning sun, full sun or filtered sun.  It can be sheared to any desired height or width.

privacy screen shrub

Problem: Sunny and Wide Area

  • Purple Hopseed Bush-
    Also known as Dodonea is a fast grower- reaching  to 10-15 ' high and wide.  This has a filtered screening capability and can be pruned to desired heighth and width. This is a water-wise plant! (Pictured above)
  • Carolina Cherry Laurel-
    the compact variety is perfect for most areas- 8-10 tall and 4-6  Wide. This will grow in a.m sun and full sun. This has a dark green leaf and dense growth.
  • Palms-
    Other palms are perfect for full sun locations and make a dramatic statement. The Pindo Palm and the Mediterranean Fan Palm will live in a container for up to 5-7 years or more.  These palms are cold hardy have an instant tropical "tree" feel. 


If none of these caught your fancy, there are many additional options including English Laurel, Eleganus, Portugal Laurel...the list goes on.  Visit your nearest Green Acres Store for more ideas or click below to learn about the best shade trees for our area. 

 List of The Best Shade Trees for Sacramento & our Free Tree Planting Guide.


Tree Planting Guide


Topics: Privacy Trees & Shrubs, Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Shrubs, Planting Ideas

What's That Beautiful Smell This Fall?

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 7, 2013 10:15:00 AM

Shrubs for Sacramento

An Ode to Osmanthus fragrans

It’s that time of year! The leaves are turning, the weather is cooling, and neighborhoods in Sacramento are once again perfumed by the delicate, fruity scent of our favorite fragrant shrub- Osmanthus fragrans!


Sometimes referred to as Sweet olive, Osmanthus is an evergreen tree or shrub with deep green, glossy leaves which is native to China, Japan and the Himalayas. It requires full to partial sun, moderate water, and will tolerate clay soils. It grows best in Sunset zones 8,9 and 12-24 and typically reaches 10-15 feet tall and 6-8 wide.  If is certainly one of many fantastic shrubs for Sacramento!

History and Use

shrubs in sacramento

Osmanthus blooms most heavily in Spring and Fall, with tiny white flowers that you may not be able to see, but will certainly smell from yards away. Some people describe the fragrance as being reminiscent of ripe apricots or peaches.

It is a good background plant, and the flowers are so inconspicuous it will leave visitors curious as to where that delightful smell is coming from!

Osmanthus flowers are used extensively in Chinese cuisine to make tea, jam, sweet cakes and dumplings.

There is even a rare orange-flowered version of the shrub, Osmanthus fragrans forma aurantiacus whose brilliant orange blossoms are suitably festive for Fall! (See photo above).

This marvelous shrub does not grow very fast, so plant one today to enjoy it’s heavenly perfume in your neighborhood for years to come.  


Topics: What Can I Plant This Season?, Fragrant Plants, Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Planting Ideas

Why Crape Myrtles Take the Stage This Summer

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jul 15, 2013 9:54:00 AM


crape myrtle

The Crape Myrtle,
or Lagerstroemia indica, gets its name from the abundant spires of crepe-like flowers that it bears in the warm, summer months. These showy flowers combined with attractive bark, beautiful fall foliage water-wise properties and high durability have made the Crape Myrtle a popular choice within Northern California landscapes.





crape myrtle tree


A Little Background Information

Lagerstroemia indica are native to South East Asia, Australia, Oceania and the Indian sub-continent, making them a perfect candidate for the dry heat in regions of Northern California. Known to some as “living bouquets,” their floral tufts range in color from soft lavender to vivacious red and many shades in between. The Crape Myrtle comes in a wide variety of sizes and is available as a tree or shrub. Gardeners may choose from a dwarf that can remain as small as 3’ to a tree that can reach up to 30’ high.






How to Care For and Maintain Your Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtles are some of the most accommodating plants, thriving in dry, full sun and requiring less maintenance than most trees and shrubs. Follow these simple tips to help ensure its success in your garden:

Be sure to plant in a dry, full sun area and thoroughly soak the root ball at time of planting. Click here to refer to our planting guide for a complete how-to on planting any tree or shrub.


Crape Myrtle Shrub, Natchez variety

  • Implement a deep watering schedule until the Crape Myrtle has become established (usually 3-5 years). Once established, the plant can survive off of less water and really utilize its drought-tolerant abilities. Smaller trees will reach this point quicker than large trees.  
  • Clip spent flowers to promote a round of additional flowering throughout the season.

  • Choose the right variety for your space to avoid unnecessary pruning. If needed, refrain to light pruning in the winter and early spring.




This Season's Top-picks

These popular varieties of Crape Myrtles have won the hearts of many gardeners and landscapers alike,
making them top-picks of the season!

#1 Dynamite

Dynamite Crape Myrtle flowers

#2 Red Rocket

Red rocket Crape Myrtle flowers

#3 Tuscarora

Crape Myrtle Tuscarora lg

#4 Catawaba

Catawba Crape Myrtle Variety

#5 Natchez

Natchez Crape Myrtle flower


Come catch a glimpse of their luscious flowers and learn more about this amazing plant. Feel free to stop by any of our locations and we can help you find the perfect Crape Myrtle to fit your landscape. 


Want other low water planting ideas? 

Drought Tolerant Plants

Topics: Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Tree, Shrubs, Low Water Plants, Planting Ideas, Summer

Diversifying Space Through Plantings

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Apr 29, 2013 9:35:00 AM

We are working on a series of blog posts about how plan your landscape before you plant.  If you need a refresher on the first article in the series, click to read Landscape Programming Like a Pro.

In the last article, we touched upon landscape programming which combines the elements of your site with the activities that would be best supported. Now let’s expand that by diversifying space through plantings.  First things first, you need to learn an important defintion...transition space.

front door resized 600Transition space divides the passive and active areas in the yard as well as the public and private realms of the property. Take your front door as an example.  For privacy sake, most homeowners would prefer that their front door would not be directly open onto the street or sidewalk.  There are various practicical reasons for this, but it is also important for design and aesthetics.  A front door of a home needs transition space between the public and private realm. So, the front patio, walkway and swinging gate all act as a transition space or slight barriers between the street and your front door. Walkways and gates are great, but to better improve the transition spaces we can use plants, structures and materials to help with that transition.  All of these items should support the scale of the home or building. For example, tall, park-like trees or short, bonsai-type plants would be out of scale for a typical one-story residence in the Sacramento area.  We need to find plants in between very tall or extremely short to work as transition pieces in the landscape.  Here at Green Acres, we meet with homeowners from our area on a daily basis and many of them followup and tell us what worked.  Below are some plants that come highly recommended from Green Acres plant experts and our customers who planted them.

Evergreen plants are a nice choice for transition spaces.  Try these evergreen plants to help increase transition space in your yard:

diversifying Space through plantings

  • Sky pencil Holly (formal upright shape) available in 1, 5 and 10 gallon
  • SkyRocket or Spartan Juniper (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • Icee Blue Podocarpus (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • 2-Tier Privet or Boxwood Topiary (formal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • ‘Teddy Bear’ Southern Magnolia (informal upright shape) available in 5 gallon
  • Compact Cherry Laurel (informal upright shape) available in 5 and 15 gallon
  • African Boxwood (informal spreading shape) available in 1 and 5 gallon
  • Grevillea (informal spreading shape) available in 1 and 5 gallon

grevillea1 resized 600

Next, let’s work on diversifying the original 5 landscape elements from the last article:


  1. The Envelope: To diversity and strengthen the envelope of your property, plant a mixture of evergreen and deciduous plants. If you want privacy, try planting upright shaped plants from the list above.  'Icee Blue' Podocarpus is a wonderful upright choice. If you want to enjoy your view of the horizon plant lower plants from the list above like Grevillea, or African Boxwood.
  2. Openness to the Sky: To increase the amount of openness to the sky plant trees close to the house for summertime shade and perhaps along the outer corners or a tree cluster for visual impact. Having some openness to the sky means allowing full-sun and native plants to thrive (such as Western Redbud, California Lilac, Ground cover Manzanita, Flannel Bush, and Santa Barbara Daisy). Leaving some openness is valuable.  
    diversifying plantings
  3. Landscape Style: Hone in on one type of landscape style for your property. You can expand upon it later-but for now, try and emulate one style.  If it’s an English Cutting Garden-use lots and lots of spring-autumn perennial blooms: Spirea, Lilac, Lavender, Bachelor’s Buttons, Shasta Daisy, Salvia, Butterfly Bush, Penstemon, Coreopsis...If it’s a coastal or California native garden use: Arbutus marina, Western Redbud, California Lilac, Pride of Madeira,
    Coffeeberry, Flannel Bush, California Fuchsia, Santa Barbara Daisy.
  4. Architectural Footprint: If the architectural theme of your home is lacking a cohesive aesthetic try adding architectural elements such as welded-wire trellis’ (at the Roseville location for $50 and up), welded-wire arches, or oversized glazed pottery pieces to flank the left and right sides of the front walkway or back patio. This will rapidly increase overall visual appeal.
  5. Diversity of the Site: To expand site diversity, look at all the ways your yard is monotone or the same-and now change it. Use evergreens and deciduous plants together; push taller plants up against shorter plants in front of the planting bed. Place bright red Cordyline or Pink Stripe New Zealand Flax against a monotone wall of evergreens. 
Diversifying space through plantings

Look better? We thought so! These are just a few tips when trying to diversify your landscape space.  Visit us if you have questions about specific plants or would like more inspiration for your landscape.  If you need some professional advice, then we invite you to visit our store's contractor board.  We list contact information from local landscapers and designers that can help.



Contact Us!

Topics: Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Planning Your Landscape, Planting Ideas, Landscape Design

Bareroot Roses are So Hot Right Now

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jan 14, 2013 3:42:00 PM

Bareroot season is here... and bareroot roses are so hot right now.  Not familiar with bareroot?  Well, bareroot means the plants are grown in the field by a grower, uprooted and then shipped to your local nursery (Green Acres), to be sold. This is all possible because roses go dormant in the winter.  When the plant goes dormant, its root system goes dormant too which makes for easy planting and excellent root development.  

bareroot roses

Our bareroot rose selection becomes available in late winter*. We offer the finest variety of Hybrid Tea, Floribunda, Grandiflora, Climbing and Patio Tree, Patent and Non Patent Roses.  Bareroot season is the time to find that special rose you have been looking for.  During bareroot season you can find the best selection of for the whole year. 

bareroot roses

Popular varieties include: 'All American Magic', 'Silver Star', 'Opening Night', 'Mister Lincoln', 'Perfume Delight', 'Pink Peace' (pictured), 'Midas Touch', 'Julia Child' (pictured), 'Scentimental', 'Just Joey', 'Gingersnap'(pictured), 'Iceberg', 'Double Delight' (pictured), & Many MORE!

bareroot roses

A wonderful part of bareroot rose season is that it is the most economical time to buy roses.  Being their dormant season, they are only about one-third the cost of a full bloom rose shrub in spring.  We are certain that we have the best quality and selection of bareroot roses in all of Sacramento.  We invite you to come see our selection today! Don't forget that if you plant now, come late spring, you will see blooms on these lovely roses in your own gardens.

 bareroot roses

Interested in which varieties we offer?  Click below to find out.

Bareroot Rose Varieties  




* Please call stores to check availability. 



Topics: Shrubs for Sacramento Area, New Products, Roses

Fall and Winter Shrubs for Sacramento Area

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Oct 26, 2012 10:52:00 AM

Fall and winter shrubs for Sacramento
Shrubs.  How to pick a shrub that will thrive in our area?  It can be a difficult task when you are at a nursery with thousands of choices for the open spaces of your landscape.  Some people might say that they don't even know the real difference between a tree and a shrub when looking at a plant in your local garden center.  Well, size alone doesn't reliably distinguish trees and shrubs.  Better distinguishing characteristics include aspect and use.  One description of shrubs that seems obvious, but is helpful is from Sunset Western Garden.  Sunset describes shrubs as "carrying their foliage to ground level, revealing little or none of their branch framework."  Esentially, a tree, you can walk under, while a shrub you must walk around.  Shrubs are the skeleton of your landscape and provide a transition between tree canopy and ground level.  Shrubs don't have to be boring.  They can provide visual interest in their foliage and their flowers and fruits.  

When choosing a shrub, it is a good idea to think about several key components:
1.  Sun requirements.  
There are shade loving shrubs, sun loving shrubs, and those in between.  To encourage the shrub's survival, make sure you know the sun or shade hours of the area you are planting.  
2.  Deciduous or evergreen. 
Deciduous means it will lose its leaves, and evergreen, means it will keep foliage all year.  We have several suggestions for all types of shrubs, but our blog post today will focus on evergreen shrubs.

Fall Shrub Sasanqua Camellia 'Yuletide'

There are certainly top performing shrubs for our area that you should know about.  Some evergreen options with fall interest are as follows; Arbutus Marina, Camellia Sasanqua, Escallonia, and Plumbago.  Our favorite for the area are Camellias.  The Camellia Sasanqua 'Yuletide' variety is a classic.  The 'Yuletide' variety has a profusion of small, single, bright red flowers on a dense, compact upright plant.  The blossoms especially stand out because of the dark green, glossy foliage of the Camellia plant.  This shrub is a perfect choice as a colorful hedge or screen, an espallier or a border shrub.  It performs best in filtered sun and with regular watering.   

As we get closer into Winter there are other evergreen shrubs with Winter interest.  Some of those shrubs would be other Camellia varieties, Coleonema (Breath of Heaven), Irish Heather, Winter Daphne, Erica, & Azalea Kurume hybrids to name a few.  Winter Daphne is prized for its beautiful rosy pink flowers and has a lovely light fragrance.  A wonderful choice against a wall or near a patio or deck where the fragrance can be appreciated.  

Fall Shrub Nandina 'Filamentosa'

If you are looking for non-flowering evergreen shrubs, then we have two suggestions that give dynamic foliar interest year around.  Both bring graceful texture and color to any garden space and are hardier varieties.  First is Nandina 'Filamentosa' which is from the low maintenance Nandina family and is an excellent choice for mass plantings.  It is a delicate thread leafed cultivar growing 2'-3' tall.   Coprosma 'Karo Red' and 'Tequila Sunrise' are other great evergreen options.  The most alluring part of Coprosma is its jewel like foliage-highly glossed and brightly colored in distinct colors each season.  

Fall shrub, Coprosma Tequila sunrise

Living in Sacramento, we are fortunate enough to be in a zone where summer daytime temperatures are high, sunshine is almost constant during the growing season, and growing seasons are long.  However, it is important to remember that shrubs can be affected by frost damage and some varieties are more tender like: Plumbago, Escallonia, and Coleonema.  Anytime the temps are to drop below 40 degrees, frost cloth would be in order.  Frost cloth is availalbe in many sizes, but the standard is 10X12 sizes and is available at most garden centers including Green Acres.  Frost cloth is more beneficial than using a plastic sheet or a blanket because it allows both light and water to penetrate and is more breathable than the other options mentioned. 

Hopefully, you now have greater knowledge about some of our favorites shrubs for the area.  Happy planting and please click here to see our locations, browse our website for more information or download our free Planting Guide below! 

  Planting Guide


Topics: Fall Shrubs, Shrubs for Sacramento Area, Shrubs

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