En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - January 01, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow time). We would like something evergreen and these will be planted along a fence line with no other trees in the area (most will be planted under what is now vegetable garden beds). The issue is 2/3 of the area receive 3 or 4 hours sun while the other 6+. If Italian Cypress aren't ideal..could you recommend something else fast growing in a similar compact but tall style? The main requirements are a) privacy and b) some road noise. Thanks!

ANSWER:

After answering nearly 9000 questions, Mr. Smarty Plants feels there is nothing much new in the garden world, and since we are lazy (it is, after all, Christmas vacation) we are going to refer you to a couple of previous answers on Italian Cypress, both of them from Austin:

Replacement of stressed Italian Cypress:

"Another problem for your Cupressus sempervirens, of course, is that it is not native to North America and certainly not to Central Texas. It needs fertile soil with good drainage. Our area is predominantly a heavy clay (along with the solid limestone), alkaline in pH and very poor drainage. This sort of situation is one of the reasons the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown."

These answers below feature more links and many pictures of appropriate plants from our Image Gallery.

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on privacy plants from Austin.

And this one, from Buda (very close to Austin).

See, we told you we were lazy, but since there are no native trees that will emulate Italian Cypress and still flourish in Central Texas, we think you would be happier with a mixed planting of trees and shrubs that will distract the eye from the encroaching buildings and certainly muffle the highway noise, as well as changing with the seasons and offering a variety of looks over time. In all cases, follow the plant links (like Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) to our webpage on that plant to learn its growing conditions, sunlight and water needs and soils best suited to it, as well as showing pictures.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Screening Plants for Cape Cod
June 17, 2014 - I need to plant some fairly high growing leafy plants/bushes/trees for privacy and as a sound barrier in (the remains of) a pine forest in Cape Cod, MA. The pines grow tall and skinny so that we can s...
view the full question and answer

Screen plant for Austin
March 30, 2009 - I live in Austin Texas and am looking for a small tree or large shrub that will obscure the view from my kitchen window into my neighbors. I am looking for an evergreen plant that gets no wider than ...
view the full question and answer

Screening Shrub for Lubbock TX
April 08, 2012 - I am a landscape architecture student at Texas Tech University and am looking for a drought tolerant shrub to be used for screening a water well area. The location is the northwest corner of a yard wi...
view the full question and answer

Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
March 30, 2008 - I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge Plant for CA
January 26, 2016 - We recently moved into a new home right on the border of Cherry Valley and Beaumont, Ca. We are at an elevation of 2,900 ft. We are looking for a plant that we can use as a privacy hedge along our bac...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center