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

Tuesday - June 17, 2014

From: Wellfleet, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Screening Plants for Cape Cod
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I need to plant some fairly high growing leafy plants/bushes/trees for privacy and as a sound barrier in (the remains of) a pine forest in Cape Cod, MA. The pines grow tall and skinny so that we can see/hear right through to our neighbors. Black walnut do grow in between the pines, but they are invasive so not good for our purposes.

ANSWER:

Thanks for considering native plants to create a screen in your pine forest in Cape Cod. In addition to having lots of seedlings, black walnuts also secrete a substance called Juglone that is toxic to many other plants and keeps away any competition – so you are smart to be wary of this tree.
To find a list of native plants to consider as interplants to create a privacy screen, the best place to start is the Lady Bird Johnson Native Plant Database. Under the Combination Search, select Massachusetts, shrub (then tree), perennial, shade, dry and 3-12 feet tall. There are several shrubs and trees that are the result of this search criteria that you might consider.
Alder:
Alnus viridis ssp. crispa (green alder)
Serviceberries:
Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)
Amelanchier bartramiana (oblongfruit serviceberry)
Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny serviceberry)
Amelanchier sanguinea (roundleaf serviceberry)
Amelanchier stolonifera (running serviceberry)
Dogwoods:
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Cornus rugosa (roundleaf dogwood)
Hazelnut:
Corylus americana (American hazelnut)
Witch hazel:
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Holly:
Ilex opaca (American holly), evergreen
Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)
Spicebush:
Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)
Mulberry:
Morus rubra (red mulberry)
Ninebark:
Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)
Cherry:
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)
Wafer ash:
Ptelea trifoliata (wafer ash)
Sumac:
Rhus aromatic (fragrant sumac)
Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rose:
Rosa setigera (climbing prairie rose)
Yew:
Taxus canadensis (Canada yew)
Blueberry:
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)
Viburnum:
Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)
Viburnum rafinesquianum (downy arrowwood)

 

From the Image Gallery


Oblongfruit serviceberry
Amelanchier bartramiana

Allegheny serviceberry
Amelanchier laevis

Roundleaf serviceberry
Amelanchier sanguinea

Flowering dogwood
Cornus florida

American hazelnut
Corylus americana

Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

American holly
Ilex opaca

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Atlantic ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius

Black cherry
Prunus serotina

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

Mapleleaf viburnum
Viburnum acerifolium

More Trees Questions

Larvae infesting Mexican white oak
December 16, 2010 - What larvae/worm would dwell and eat the inside of a Mexican White Oak? I planted one last November and it was doing great. The bark started cracking towards the bottom but the top was very full & gre...
view the full question and answer

Pecan tree dropping dead leaves
August 02, 2014 - I have a very old, tall pecan tree in my yard that has been dropping dead leaves for the last three weeks. My back yard looks like it is the Fall season. Do you have any insight on this?
view the full question and answer

A good Amelanchier (Serviceberry) for Brooklyn, NY.
November 03, 2015 - I am looking to purchase an Amelanchier to plant in Brooklyn this month. Would you know which variety works best in a small garden and also is it too late to plant. Mainly, I am looking for someone wh...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Need a native tree for full sun in Hockley, TX
October 27, 2009 - What native trees should I plant for full sun. I am building on a 1/2 acre previously used as grazing land on the original Katy prairie. I need one large shade tree, a few smaller ornamentals, and a...
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