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

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Saturday - February 22, 2014

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shrubs for a barrier in Ft. Worth TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hello, I'm looking for a natural barrier as an alternative to a fence in my backyard. I see several other questions answered relating to this but I'm looking for something specifically as a native shrub or bush to North Texas (not a tree) I live in an area with slightly richer soil (Oakhurst) so I might be able to get away with planting things that couldn't otherwise be planted in the DFW area. The back yard fence line runs a decent length and is already partially filled with Lagerstroemia and hackberries but I'd like to fill in the spaces with something that will also encapsulate the backyard more naturally. Thanks for any help you can provide!

ANSWER:

   I think that sounds like a great plan.  The way to get a good list of shrubs that are native to the Ft. Worth area is to use the Wildflower Centers lists of Recommended Species.  This link is to the  Texas North Central Recommended Species. 

  Searching this for shrubs, 6-36 ft [using the “Narrow Your Search” options on the right side] gives five options.  Of these:
Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) and Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) seem well suited for the application you are asking about.  Slightly less suitable are Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush), Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush), and Ilex decidua (Possumhaw). On these,  Size and Aspect seems pretty good but they may have issues in that they should have moist soil.

   I also make a practice of checking the previous Mr Smarty Plants answers.  Like you mentioned, there are a few, but these seemed to apply to your desire for shrubs.  Perhaps these are a bit different from those you mention.  [The one from Central Texas is a bit far afield, but does have a great list of local shrubs!]
Hedge in central Texas 
Variety of native tall plants for a screen in shady area near Ft. Worth 
Plants for area around pool in Plano, Texas    [lists bush and shrubs] 
Plants for pool area in Fort Worth 

 

From the Image Gallery


Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

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