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

Sunday - May 25, 2014

From: Pflugerville , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Pfluegerville Screening Hedge
Answered by: Larry & Brigid Larson

QUESTION:

We live just north of Austin in a subdivision built on farm land so we have relatively flat land with good soil. We just put in a pool and are needing a privacy hedge along our 66 ft back fence. We need something slender at 3-4 ft wide and 10-15 ft or so high that doesn't attract alot of wasps and bees for kids with allergies to stings. Also we have 2 small dogs so something non-toxic to dogs.

ANSWER:

This Mr. Smarty Plants answered a question really similar to this about a year ago.  They were looking for a tall, really slender tree as a privacy screen.  Here is a link to: Privacy Tree for Austin, TX .   It also has several further references to screening plants suitable to your area.

And here are some similar question/answer pairs:
Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin 
Landscaping plans in Kyle TX

I’m not sure what to do about not attracting wasps and bees.  As you review individual plant suggestions, oftentimes they have annotations that they are attractive to birds, bees or other beneficial garden denizens. Those then can become ones you avoid!

Similarly, we have questions from folks who are concerned about plants that are toxic to dogs.  The ASPCA and other organizations have lists of these plants which you can cross-check against the plants you are considering.  Here is a link about a privacy screen from somebody who was also concerned about their dogs: Landscaping plans in Kyle TX 

This answer deals very extensively with several references to plants with respect to dogs:

Is Thalia dealbata toxic to dogs? 

As I read that information, here are a few trees that I think you should seriously consider:

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) [a bit tall and some toxic nature], Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud), Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree)Pistacia mexicana (Mexican pistachio),  and   Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) [This is our Ashe Juniper, hope you don’t suffer much from Cedar Fever!]

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Mexican redbud
Cercis canadensis var. mexicana

American smoke tree
Cotinus obovatus

Mexican pistachio
Pistacia mexicana

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

More Trees Questions

Rash resulting from cutting trees in NC.
May 08, 2012 - My boyfriend was cutting some trees yesterday. He had thorns in his hands after he was done, and today he has a rash on his legs, a fever and he feels like throwing up. Can you tell me if its symptoms...
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Repair of broken branch stump on pecan tree
July 18, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, big fan. Recently one of my pecan trees had a large branch break off, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The strange part was there was no clear sign of what caused the damage, i...
view the full question and answer

Looking for plants for phytoremediation in Columbus, TX
May 27, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for native Texan phytodegrading/rhizodegrading plants (basically I want phytoremediating plants that could be left in place and not have to be removed/disposed of after they had ta...
view the full question and answer

Native Trees for Pflugerville TX
September 28, 2013 - I'm looking for suggestions on native, drought tolerant conifers that can be located in a Pflugerville landscape under overhead electric lines. Open to Arizona Cypress, but concerned about the height...
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