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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - June 22, 2007

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Privacy plantings to replace invasive bamboo
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We are looking for good screening plants for our new house (the houses are very close). We like the way bamboo looks it is tall and narrow for the most part, but we do not want bamboo since it is invasive to native plants...do you have suggestions for plants that will remain relatively narrow and tall and work to create the privacy we desire. Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

Two native plant species might work for you in your area (Central Texas).

Two selections of Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) may be good choices for your screen. 'Will Fleming' yaupon holly (I. vomitoria 'Will Fleming') has upright, very narrow, columnar habit and grows to around 12 feet in height. Some weeping yaupons (various cultivars), also have a generally upright habit, but their branches droop, giving the plant a "weeping" appearance. The ultimate height attained and other characteristics of weeping yaupons are variable according to the selection used.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) is a fast-growing native that is generally upright in habit and can be pruned to maintain a pyramidal shape. However, it will eventually grow into quite a large tree if growing conditions are favorable.

 

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