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

Saturday - April 19, 2014

From: Larchmont, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'), Ilex Hetzii 6-8' or Ilex glabra (Inkberry) 6-8' or a Privet hedge, which thrives on abuse. We worry about hot root ball in summer and frozen ball in winter. Soil is well drained. Any suggestions? Many thanks!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are to be grown; in your case, Westchester County, NY.

Because the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated solely to the study and promotion of native species, we cannot recommend any Ligustrum species or any other non-native plants.  Privets (Ligustrum spp.) are particularly problematic invasive species and should not be planted by anyone.  In many areas, privets have overwhelmed entire ecosystems.  We strongly encourage you not to plant privets on your property.

So, now we will take a look at the other shrubs that you named as prospects.

Ilex glabra (Inkberry) - According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, this holly grows natively on Long Island, very near to Westchester County, so it would probably do fine there. Follow the plant link to our webpage on it for growing conditions, etc.

Both Ilex crenata and Ilex Crenata 'Hetzi' are native to Japan and therefore not in our Native Plant Database.

We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down to the Combination Search, selecting on New York, "shrub" for HABIT, "sun" (6 hours or more of sun a day) for LIGHT REQUIREMENTS. Again we will check the USDA Plant Profile Maps on each plant we select to ensure that it will be growing in soil and climate that it can tolerate. This is the beauty of using plants native to an area; you already know they can grow there because they ARE growing there. And please don't worry about hot or frozen root balls; again, these will be plants native to your climate. If it concerns you that your plants will be elevated in a planter box, thus exposing the roots to severe temperature, you can mix some good quality compost into the soil before you put in the plants. As this compost decomposes, it will generate heat to protect in the winter. You can also put some shredded bark mulch on top of the soil, without touching the trunks of the shrubs, which will provide year-round insulation for the roots.

Privacy shrubs for Larchmont, NY:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Chamaedaphne calyculata (Leatherleaf)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Taxus canadensis (Canada yew)

Vaccinium oxycoccos (Small cranberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Leatherleaf
Chamaedaphne calyculata

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

American holly
Ilex opaca

Canada yew
Taxus canadensis

Small cranberry
Vaccinium oxycoccos

More Shrubs Questions

Non-native Jerusalem Sage from Comfort TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Comfort, TX. I have 3 Jerusalem sage plants that bloom beautifully each year. However, just the past week one has started turning yellow and brown. The leaves look withered and ready to die....
view the full question and answer

Non blooming Texas Mountain Laurel from Las Vegas NV
September 04, 2012 - Hi, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and have a Texas Laurel and have had it for 2 years and still no purple flowers on it. Why won't it bloom ? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Kentucky
June 12, 2010 - We live in central Kentucky and have a backyard pool that desperately needs some landscaping. I would like plants that don't drop a lot of leaves or "trash". I'd like a list of great poolside pl...
view the full question and answer

Living fence line from Thomasville GA
November 04, 2012 - I would like to create a natural fence line on my property in South Georgia. They need to be pretty dense and horse, cow, goat friendly, growing to a height of about 4ft, preferably quickly! Do you ...
view the full question and answer

Deep Rooted Large Shrub or Small Tree for Driveway Strip
August 21, 2014 - I am in eastern Massachusetts. My condominium Grounds Committee is searching for a small tree suitable to plant in narrow (4'-5') beds which divide two driveways. Can you suggest something whose roo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center