Good Hedges Make Good Neighbors – Citrus Edition

A gardening friend once said, “you can always tell the California transplants by the Citrus Tree they planted in their garden.”  I think she was on to something.

Call me a transplant.  Citrus makes a great border plant providing privacy AND interest.

Love Those Trunks!


Citrus Blossom

The Citrus Blossom fragrance is often imitated but never duplicated!



These trees take pruning well.


Evergreen foliage provides privacy year-round.

Once established, these trees/shrubs require very little water.  In fact, beware of yellow leaves and/or leaf drop indicating too much water!

Vigorous Growth With Lots Of Unripe Green Lemons

Expect rodents.  It took me YEARS to finally spot a rat.  These rats are huge…the size of squirrels!  They wait till the sun goes down, then scurry up the tree, have a seat in the crook of the trunk and pick away at the fruit.  Leaving tiny chunks of peels scattered below and usually one or two half-peeled fruits lying on the ground to rot.  They would drop and rot anyway…you can only use so many Lemons!

I’ve always wanted to see the look on a rat’s face when they get that first big squirt of Lemon juice. Rats must have a short memory because they keep coming back for more.

Rotten moldy fruit on the ground and rat droppings, these trees are still at the top of my list.

Another Citrus attraction is giant fuzzy black flying insects that might be bees.  Growing up we always called them “good news bees”.  Perhaps this is why they were always welcome in my garden.

My Citrus trees were situated steps away from my back porch door.  I sort of enjoyed the buzzing of the bees.  They do tend to buzz off when humans are in the vicinity.

Do you have a favorite hedge?

I’d love to hear about plants you have found that make great neighbors!

You can leave a comment below.



  1. Jan says:

    I love plants that give back. Cutting flowers and fruit trees. Why won’t my dwarfs flower? Still no buds after 4 months of TLC. I’m thinking of removing them and replacing them since they’re so reasonable now. (I saw them for about $13 at costco last weekend) Should I stick to dwarfs? is there a risk with “full sized” citrus? I love the hedges in the photos, really allows you to ‘frame’ your yard, privacy! esp in our CA burbs where homes are just a few feet from each other.

    • Denise says:

      Hey Jan,

      My Citrus had the most blooms in late fall. You may consider waiting a year to see how they do under your long-term care before replacing them. Citrus seems to be a resilient plant that responds to attention. My Citrus had a few years where the water was off, or they were healing from heavy pruning, etc. During those years, they were a little on the quiet side.

      How are the leaves on your dwarfs? If most of the leaves look healthy and are green, it may just require patience. If a lot of the leaves are yellow or dropping, they may be getting too much or not enough water.

      Also, Citrus needs full-sun, and their trunks are susceptible to sun burn (this is why a lot of Citrus trees have white-painted trunks). Like a lot of plants, they like to have their face in the sun and their feet in the shade.

      “Full-size” Citrus will (obviously) grow larger. I guess it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. My personal preference is the standard size Lemons. I liked the Lisbon and the Improved Meyer. My Lisbon grew gnarly looking fruit, which I thought made it more interesting. Come to think of it…I should include a picture of some of the funky fruit. The Lemons were still usable, they just had REALLY thick skins. Nothing wrong with thick skins, I suppose. 😉

      I had a total of 15 feet to the neighbor’s house, and I was able to maintain them with a light/medium pruning every other year.


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