Rhamnus berries
Rhamnus alaternus

If you need privacy fast - Italian Buckthorn is an excellent choice. Buckthorn can grow 2-3 feet a year in the first few years after planting. Most commonly planted as a screening hedge, this versatile shrub can also be trained as a small upright tree. As a hedge, Buckthorn is easily shaped and provides dense growth. It has dark green glossy leaves and tiny white flowers followed by deep purple berries. Buckthorn is very drought tolerant but can take regular water if planted near a lawn. It generally enjoys being sited in a sunny location.

Because this Rhamnus tops out at 20 feet, it is a good choice under power lines. Its upright columnar form makes it good for narrow planting areas like near walkways. As a low care hedge, it is very useful in low water/poor soil situations. There are several varieties including a varigated leaf form. Rhamnus can tolerate wind - its slender shape is able to shear the force more easily than a larger canopied tree.

Maximum height
15-20 feet tall
6-10 feet wide

Life Span
80 + years

Criteria for Ranking

1 (low) - 5 (high)

Drought Tolerance after first year establishment 5
Wind Tolerance 4*
Frost Tolerance 5
Surface Roots/Sidewalk Lifting 5
Power Lines Proximity

5 (good choice)
Cost/Maintenance 5
Disease Resistance/Hardiness 5
*note asterisk denote species will be shaped by a prevailing wind. Single trunk trained trees need more protection than shrub to grow straight.

Location Rhamnus are a backbone plant in many commercial landscapes (like Nandina) and can be spotted in many locations.