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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.

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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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Friday - February 07, 2014

From: Canyon Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Privacy screen for Canyon Lake, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need some help. I live near the Guadalupe River in Canyon Lake, TX and my backyard faces a busy street. I need a fast growing thick shrub for my backyard for privacy since I cannot afford a fence at this present time.

ANSWER:

We commend your decision to have plants for a privacy screen instead of a fence. Even if you add a fence later, the mature shrubs will help with the deadening of traffic noise. We know fencing is expensive and you probably know that plants are not necessarily cheap, but if you are willing to buy carefully and give good care, you will come out ahead in the long run.

This question is very high on our Mr. Smarty Plants Hit Parade; however, many questions are from other parts of North America, so we have chosen some from Central Texas that can give you some information. Before you go shopping, please read our Step-by-Step Guide on How to Plant a Tree. We know you are asking for shrubs, but both trees and shrubs are woody plants and should be treated the same way. If you are new gardeners, and certainly if you are new to gardening in Central Texas, we suggest you also read A Guide to Native Plant Gardening from our How-To-Articles. So, here are some previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions on similar subjects:

Buda, TX

And another from Buda, TX

Here are some more on traffic noise:

Austin, TX (with several more links)

One more note: if you are ready, we advise you to plant your shrubs as soon as possible. We ordinarily recommend planting woody plants in arid, hot Texas in December and January when they have a better chance of surviving. If you are not ready, we strongly suggest you consider spending the next few months working on the soil where your shrubs will go; incorporating compost and keeping weeds down, then buying and planting your purchases no earlier than November.

 

 

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