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?


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 - August 02, 2014

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Evergreen sumacs for privacy along fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I would like to plant enough Evergreen Sumacs along our fence for privacy for the length of our backyard which is 60 ft. Fifteen feet on the left and right ends are shaded with the right side being densely shaded. The thirty feet in the middle gets direct sun all day. Is Evergreen Sumac a good choice considering the difference in lighting? If not, do you have any suggestions?


Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) will grow well in full sun and partial shade.   In the densest shade, they will be more open and tree-like.  They can be pruned to shape but they won't likely be as dense as the ones that grow in full sun.  In full sun they will grow denser and more shrub-like.  Here is more information from Aggie Horticulture.

Another possibility is Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) that does well in sun, part shade and shade and can be shaped into a dense hedge.  Here are instructions on How to Plant a Juniperus Virginiana Hedge.  You can see some of the varieties that are more shrub-like from Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension.


From the Image Gallery

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

More Shrubs Questions

Plants to hold a slope in NY
May 17, 2010 - We recently built a house (on a hillside) and now are having some drainage issues on a fairly steep slope (a small creek is forming in the swale the excavator made "deal" with the drainage). Yester...
view the full question and answer

Invasive, non-native Siberian peashrub for waller TX
February 02, 2012 - Good Morning Mr. Smarty Plants! I am trying to find out if the Siberian Pea Shrub is a good plant for Southeast Texas or if it is considered an invasive no no. It seems to have many qualities for wild...
view the full question and answer

Covering dead arborvitae with non-native ivy from Niles MI
April 14, 2013 - I have a severely thinning arborvitae hedge. It is probably too shady, but I want the privacy. I'm thinking of planting something like ivy to fill the gaps. I know it will probably kill the hedge, bu...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Indian Hawthorn not flowering in Fairfield, TX
March 17, 2012 - My indian hawthorn shrubs won't flower, they are the white variety and I live in Freestone County, Texas, greenery is beautiful and very healthy plants but no flowers Have had the plants for over tw...
view the full question and answer

Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
July 28, 2010 - I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told L...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center