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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.

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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.

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Thursday - May 15, 2014

From: Tampa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Privacy Hedge Suggestions for Tampa, Florida
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

My back wall is made of stone and is about 6' high. We are very close to a busy road. I need a plant that will reach about 7-8 feet high or a hedge to reduce some of the noise. What plant/hedge would you recommend? I live in Tampa, FL so it is very hot during the summer months.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plants Database.  There are two ways to find potential plants. Either use the Combination Search feature or the Recommended Species. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Florida, Habit – Tree (or Shrub), Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun. 
Under the Recommended Species list, select Central Florida, then sort by height - 6-12 feet.
 
These search criteria will give you a list of plants to consider. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.


Trees and shrubs that grow to 6-12 feet tall for consideration in Central Florida:


Asimina obovata (Bigflower pawpaw)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Vaccinium stamineum (Deerberry)


Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)

Quercus chapmanii (Chapman oak)

Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry)

When selecting your screening plants, consider the foliage type (evergreen vs. deciduous) and the soil moisture levels. Some of the above plants prefer more moist vs. dryer soils. Try to pick the plants that best match your garden conditions with their natural environment. Also Ilex verticillata and Ilex glabra are dioecious and needs both a male and female plant for the best fruiting.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common elderberry
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

Deerberry
Vaccinium stamineum

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Florida hopbush
Dodonaea viscosa

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

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