Plant Encyclopedia

Linebacker™ Distylium

Distylium 'PIIDIST-IV'

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Linebacker Distylium with maroon leaves

Discover More Information On Linebacker™ Distylium

Linebacker™ Distylium is an upright evergreen that takes on the shape of a white oak whisky barrel in youth and matures into an excellent screening or hedge plant. Reddish new growth matures to lustrous dark green and does not thin out in center of the plant. With no pests or diseases to trouble it, Linebacker™ is becoming a popular replacement for cherry laurel for screening and hedges. For growers, Linebacker™ is especially impressive in #7 and larger containers.

Plant Attributes

This plant is best suited for USDA Zones 7-9, making it an excellent choice for gardeners in a wide range of climates. The shrub features a dense, compact, and rounded growth habit, which makes it an ideal selection for hedges, screens, or foundation plantings in the landscape.

One of the most notable features of Linebacker Distylium is its glossy, dark green leaves that persist throughout the year. The attractive foliage provides year-round interest, making it a valuable addition to gardens that need structure and color during the winter months. In late winter or early spring, the shrub produces small, inconspicuous reddish-maroon flowers. While the blooms may not be showy, they offer a subtle touch of color in the garden during a time when many other plants are still dormant.

Linebacker Distylium is a low-maintenance plant that can thrive in various conditions. It prefers full sun to part shade, and it is adaptable to a wide range of soil types. For optimal growth, it is essential to provide well-drained, fertile, and consistently moist soil. Although the shrub exhibits moderate drought tolerance, it prefers consistent moisture to maintain its overall health and appearance.

Landscape Use

Linebacker Distylium is a versatile and attractive evergreen shrub that can be incorporated into various landscaping designs due to its appealing features and adaptability. Here are some suggested landscaping uses for this plant:

  1. Hedges and screens: With its dense, compact growth habit and year-round foliage, Linebacker Distylium makes an excellent choice for creating hedges or screens. It can provide privacy, define property boundaries, or separate different areas within a garden.
  2. Foundation plantings: Linebacker Distylium can be used effectively as a foundation planting around homes or buildings. Its evergreen nature ensures year-round interest, and its mature size makes it suitable for filling spaces next to walls or structures.
  3. Mixed borders: The dark green foliage of Linebacker Distylium can serve as a backdrop for colorful flowering plants, creating depth and visual interest in mixed borders. The shrub's evergreen quality helps maintain structure and color during the winter months when other plants may be dormant.
  4. Accent plant: The unique foliage and subtle flowers of Linebacker Distylium can be used as an accent plant in garden beds or landscapes, drawing attention to specific areas and providing contrast with other plantings.
  5. Mass plantings: Planting Linebacker Distylium en masse can create a stunning, low-maintenance ground cover in large areas or along slopes, helping to control erosion and reduce maintenance needs.
  6. Wildlife habitat: The flowers of Linebacker Distylium can provide a food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making the shrub a valuable addition to wildlife-friendly gardens.
  7. Containers: Linebacker Distylium can also be grown in containers, either as a standalone plant or combined with other plants, to add greenery to patios, decks, or other outdoor living spaces.

With its year-round interest, low-maintenance requirements, and adaptability to various growing conditions, Linebacker Distylium can serve a multitude of landscaping purposes, making it an excellent addition to any garden or landscape design.

Planting & Care

Planting and caring for Linebacker Distylium is relatively straightforward due to its hardy nature and adaptability. Here are some essential tips for planting and maintaining this evergreen shrub:

  1. Planting site: Choose a location that receives full sun to part shade, as Linebacker Distylium is adaptable to various light conditions. Ensure that the site has well-drained soil to prevent root rot and other issues related to waterlogged soil.
  2. Soil preparation: Before planting, loosen the soil and mix in some organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve fertility and drainage. This will help establish a healthy root system and promote vigorous growth.
  3. Planting: Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and slightly deeper than its height. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any circling roots. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil. Backfill with the excavated soil, firming it gently around the roots to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly to settle the soil.
  4. Mulching: Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the plant, keeping it a few inches away from the trunk. Mulch helps to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth.
  5. Watering: During the first growing season, water the plant consistently to establish a healthy root system. Linebacker Distylium prefers consistently moist soil but can tolerate moderate drought once established. Adjust your watering schedule based on weather conditions and soil type, taking care not to overwater.
  6. Fertilizing: Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the early spring to promote healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application rates and frequency.
  7. Pruning: Linebacker Distylium requires minimal pruning to maintain its shape and size. Prune as needed to remove dead, damaged, or diseased branches, and to control the overall size of the shrub. The best time for pruning is after flowering, usually in late spring or early summer.
  8. Pest and disease management: Linebacker Distylium is generally resistant to common pests and diseases. However, it's essential to monitor the plant regularly for any signs of issues and address them promptly. If necessary, use appropriate cultural, biological, or chemical controls, following label instructions and local regulations.

By following these planting and care guidelines, you can help ensure that your Linebacker Distylium thrives and maintains its attractive appearance in your landscape for many years.

Additional Information

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Linebacker™ Distylium


Plant Features

  • Height: 8-10'
  • Width: 6-8'
  • Hardiness Zone: 7-9
  • Heat Zone: 9
  • Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Habit: Upright
  • Flower Color: Dark Red
  • Foliage: Dark Green

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