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So I've got a large front yard and I want to use a hedge to divide it and provide some privacy. I live in Western Australia so the soil is very sandy and the area receives full sun, sometimes getting to 40 °C (104 °F) in summer. Also I'm looking for something that will grow like a weed.

What are some plant types that will make a good hedge and survive in the harsh Australian sun?

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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I'm in Newcastle, Australia, and have a very happy Murraya growing in my front yard. It receives full sun in a Northernly aspect.

It grows like mad in summer and requires trimming once a week. Top temperatures here are usually 30-35C, but 40C is possible. It is fertilized with cow manure. I rarely need to water it but the topsoil here is not sandy.

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I'm in the UK where the climate is quite different from the Australian one, so I can't recommend a plant from personal experience. However, a quick online search has come up with the following plant, which is suitable for Southern (and presumably Western) Australia and seems to meet all your criteria; it is fast-growing and drought tolerant, requires very little maintenance and would provide the privacy you want:

Apparently there are quite a few varieties, so you could choose one that suits your particular situation; Bambusa oldhamii, for instance, is an evergreen variety that grows up to 20 ft.

Clumping bamboo, unlike running bamboo, has a non-invasive root structure, so there is no need to create a physical barrier or prune its roots to prevent them from spreading into your neighbor's garden.

There are two very useful articles about bamboo care and maintenance here and here.

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When I've seen bamboo growing, it is usually as an invasive problem (this is true in Texas and Costa Rica). "Fast growing non-native" usually translates into "invasive problem". Australia does have native bamboo, so it might be okay but I think @Coomie should be very careful to select a variety/species that is native to both Australia and their local environment (Australia contains a lot of climates). –  winwaed Sep 5 '11 at 13:18
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@winwaed: I've had a clump of bamboo growing in my garden for many years and haven't found it at all hard to control; however, I agree that Coomie should look for a variety that is native to Australia and, if possible, to the region where he lives. –  Mancuniensis Sep 5 '11 at 13:51
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I think I might pay a visit to my local nursery. I might go with bamboo, if I can find one that provides enough privacy... I didn't know Australia had native bamboo. –  Coomie Sep 6 '11 at 5:43
    
@Coomie Direct link to PDF - Growing bamboos in the home garden via Department of Agriculture and Food - Government of Western Australia. I'd also recommend you look into native (ornamental) grasses, personally I'm a big fan of such plants... –  Mike Perry Sep 7 '11 at 17:17
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I am going to make my suggestion anyway, even if it might be a bit too low for your liking at only 1.5 metres maximum height. Grevillea lavandulacea is a attractive shrub native to SA and Victoria which is used by councils for borders and the like so perhaps it is what you're looking for. It has reddish flowers from late winter through to late spring or early summer.

Credit goes to my mum who sent me a link to a great article on the species recently.

EDIT: Max height 1.5m not 0.5m (stupid typo)

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