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Friday, May 30, 2014

Bay Laurel Good Choice for Chain Link Privacy

Q. I would like to plant an "evergreen" vine/screening plant along a chain link fence to block the neighbor's yapping dogs (little dogs).

Bay Laurel recently planted
  That area is quite shady, as there is a row of pine trees (25+ feet tall) 10' in front of the fence. Currently the lowest limbs are about 7' off the ground; I can prune them higher if need be. 

These trees were planted too close together, so they are "wimpy"... too crowded/too much shade. If the "screening plant" could be something edible (even edible flowers) that would be even better.  I'm going to plant Goji berries farther down the fence line where there is full sun... I don't think that they would do well in this area (about 60' long). 

I live in Pahrump so the winters get below freezing... thanks for any suggestions that you may have!

Bay Laurel
Andrea Meckley, CH
April 4, 2014

Bay Laurel 24 inch box after one year
I suggest a shrub called Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) column form over a vine for this situation.   This hardy evergreen is low-maintenance and you can use the bay leaves in cooking.   
Don’t trim the width and when it grows to the limbs of the pine trees, top trim and it will bush out more.  Not a fast grower.    

An alternative plant suggestion is Vinca Vine (Vinca minor) which is an aggressive, never get rid of vine that will accept the shade and can be weaved in the chain-link fence as it grows.

So space plants depending on size of plant installed and patience level.

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis):
Description:  Upright shrub or tree
Mature size: 20 feet high x 20 feet wide
Water use: medium water user-water as a tree
Sun exposure preferred:  Shade to full sun-North, east or west facing will all work
Origin:  Mediterranean
Uses:  Screen, shade, leaves for cooking
Bay Laurel in standard tree form
Flower color and season:  Spring yellow clusters sometimes


  1. I would like to replace a huge Mullberry tree in my front yard, roots are very invasive but the shade is wonderful. We have west facing home. I would like to replace with a small bay laurel for cooking purposes and a shoestring acacia for shade. Are these trees invasive and would both be too much? The roots of the Mullberry has broken the water line before, which we replaced, but now will be re-doing the front yard.. We have a older home which has a really front yard which we enclosed with a block wall and rod iron fence, it will have a small patio and desert plants with roses. Also dog and bird friendly. Any advise would be greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.

    1. Invasive has several different meanings. If you mean, are the roots in they? Yes, Mulberry has a very invasive root system. Mulberry is a great tree for the desert if you are just talking about how easily it handles extremes of all kinds and produces 100% shade if it gets enough water. But it does have a lot of problems; very high water use, the mail tree produces a lot of pollen that can be a human health hazard and the roots will get into anyplace where there is water and nutrients. But that goes for almost every tree that's out there including many of our desert trees like Acacia and Mesquite. If given the chance, Bay Laurel will have an invasive root system. You will want to keep all trees added distance from the house and other structures including walls that is half of its mature height. Never plant them on top of a septic system, near a swimming pool or near the sewer lines.

      I think planting Bay Laurel in a Western exposure could be a mistake. It will do much better on the north or east side of a home with some protection from the late afternoon sun. As a warning to you, I have seen freeze damage to Bay Laurel in the Las Vegas Valley. I would try to put it in a spot that has some protection from strong winter winds. The Acacia will handle a Western exposure very nicely. However, it will not give you the same shade as a Mulberry. I think you could classify the Acacia as filtered sunlight which will allow you to plant beneath it. Planting under a Mulberry tree has a lot more restrictions because of the dense shade.