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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.

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Need suggestions for a privacy screen besides Murray Cypress.
October 18, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in NE TX, about an hour east of Dallas on I-20. I hear interstate traffic behind my house, and have a busy street on its left side, and a school adjoining in back. I thi...
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White flowers to plant in front of evergreen tree screen in Altoona PA
June 15, 2010 - I have planted about 30 evergreen trees (as a screen). I would like to plant a row of low maintenance whitish flowering bushes or low maintenance large flowering plants in front of this row. Any sug...
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Native plants for privacy screen in Austin
March 11, 2008 - I would like some suggestions for plants to form a privacy screen between our backyard and our neighbor's. The site is shady, under old Texas Ash and pecan trees, and is located in North central Aust...
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Privacy Hedge for Maryland Porch
July 03, 2014 - I am working on a screen/fence, which is a barrier hedge between our house and our next door neighbor's house to add privacy to our screen porch and dining area, especially in winter. The fence would...
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Evergreen shrub for screening from Austin
March 25, 2012 - Is there an evergreen, fruit shrub which grows 8 to 10 feet high, having about 6 to 8 hours of sun which could be trimmed to serve as a screen in front of pool equipment on the side of our house?
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