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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 30, 2014

From: Pleasanton, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Privacy Trees for Pleasanton, CA
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I was looking for some fast growing trees for my backyard that backs up to Valley Ave in Pleasanton, Ca. The city just cut down 4 Redwoods behind me and there is so much noise from the traffic now Can you help with some suggestions?

ANSWER:

It seems a number of folks from Northern CA have asked quite similar questions of Mr Smarty Plants.  The set of following recommendations cover several similar situations.

Fast-growing privacy shrub for Northern California home 

Fast-growing tree for privacy in Berkeley, CA

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California

Fast-growing, evergreen, non-invasive root tree for El Dorado CA

Evergreen tree for California screen

Trees for pool area in San Ramon, California

Evergreen shrubs for privacy in Merced County California

Evergreen for privacy screen in Northern California

There is some good discussion and many things to consider in these various messages, but Mr. Smarty Plants recognizes this buries the specific recommendations.  When I read through these messages, the following trees and shrubs appeared suitable to your part of Alameda County. 

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (Smooth mountain mahogany) - -moderate growth rate

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) - - no comments as to speed

Calocedrus decurrens (Incense cedar) - - fast growth early then slows

Umbellularia californica (California laurel) - begins growth slowly but once established grows rapidly to 40 feet

Prunus ilicifolia (Hollyleaf cherry)  - grows rapidly to 40 feet

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) – fast growing shrub

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (Blueblossom) - - fast growing shrub

Several more shrubs have been suggested, you'll find several more [If you want more to consider] in the above question/answer pairs.

 

From the Image Gallery


California laurel
Umbellularia californica

Toyon
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Blueblossom
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

More Trees Questions

Lifespan and pruning of cedar elm in San Antonio
October 03, 2009 - How long do cedar elm trees live? How can you estimate the age of one, or tell if it is nearing the end of its normal lifespan? Do you have any recommendations for selecting someone to prune it proper...
view the full question and answer

Sappy dew killing plants under oaks in Missouri
September 19, 2008 - There is a sappy dew killing my perennials.I have several large oaks in my yard. I had different kinds of shade perennials around each base of the trees. But as years have gone by, the different varie...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Mountain Laurel in Dallas
May 04, 2010 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is about 3 years old. When I bought it 2 summers ago, it was about a foot high. Now it is over 6 feet. It seems to have grown so fast that the branches can't ke...
view the full question and answer

Possible allelopathic properties of Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite)
October 02, 2015 - I want to plant a coral honeysuckle at the base of a mesquite tree. Anything in the mesquite that would inhibit the honeysuckle from growing?
view the full question and answer

Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
September 20, 2012 - Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?
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