En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

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 Shrubs Questions

Why won't my Jacaranda flower in Oviedo, FL?
October 06, 2010 - I have a Jacaranda tree that is 12 years old and and nearly 30 feet tall. It is a beautiful healthy tree that has never produced flowers. How can I get my tree to bloom? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree or shrub from Simms TX
February 13, 2011 - Thought you might have the expertise to help identify this tree/shrub? They were planted about 10 years ago and started in a pot about 2 feet high. I have photos but not sure how to send them to you; ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
November 09, 2013 - I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of a...
view the full question and answer

Fuzzy Citrus Fruit on Satsuma and Lemon Trees
September 13, 2014 - A man asked you about fuzzy little small fruit-like balls that looked like tiny lemons. I have huge numbers of these on both my mature Satsuma and lemon tree this year. I get 100's of really great f...
view the full question and answer

Puppy-friendly privacy screen in Montana
November 02, 2012 - I need some puppy-friendly short(< 30') privacy from the gigantic windows of my next door neighbor. But- there are power lines above the area that I needed to plant! I had planned on an aspen grove, ...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center