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For a hedge, for fragrant flowers, for leathery leaves ... these viburnums.

For a versatile large shrub or small tree, consider an evergreen viburnum. Fall is a prime time to plant.

One of the most popular is Viburnum tinus, pictured above. Its dense habit makes it a good choice for small gradens as a hedge, screen, or container plant. Another widely sold variety is leatherleaf viburnum (V. rhytidophyllum). Its rangier habit makes it better suited for big gardens as a screen, espalier, or single showoff plant.

Plants of V. tinus reach 6 to 12 feet tall; leaves are an attractive deep green with wine red veins on their undersides. In summer, blue-black berries follow flowers, often overlapping blooms.

V. tinus is also available in dwarf forms, including 'Compactum', which stays under 6 feet tall. V. tinus 'Spring Bouquet' is nearly identical, but has glossy green leaves that are more mildew resistant, an advantage where cool, humid climates favor that disease.

V. tinus wants to be a multitrunked shrub and fights back if you try to train it as a small tree. But to do so, select a plant with one primary leader and cut off lower branches up to the point where you want it branch out.

Gardeners who like V. rhytidophyllum appreciate its rugged, trouble-free habit. But critics feel that its many stiff, upright stems and large coarse leaves combine to make it gawky. Also, in cold weather, the leaves sometimes hang straight down. Both of these varieties grow in many climates. V. tinus can be grown from western Washington to the intermediate deserts (where it should be located in as cool a spot as possible). In coastal climates it is susceptible to mildew. V. rhytidophyllum does not like desert living, and its large leaves may get tattered where conditions are very windy.

Viburnums do best with ample water, but V. tinus prefers soil that isn't soggy. Both can tolerate some drought and do well in either sun or shade. Pruning the base regularly to a few upright stalks helps keep viburnums shapely. If aphids, mites, and scale attack, control them before populations get out of hand. Hose foliage occasionally to help dislodge such pests. Use a spray of liquid soap and water, or insecticide if needed.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 1, 1984
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