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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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Wednesday - October 24, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Native trees for privacy screen in Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in the hill country outside of Austin,TX in somewhat rocky terrain. I wanted to plant a tree for a privacy screen to hide a neighbor's house. I was considering a Leland cypress. What are your thoughts? I am looking for a tree that is full at the top and bottom grows tall (juniper size), and is low maintenance. It will get partial sun. Also any other trees you may suggest? Thanks.

ANSWER:

The Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii or Cupressus leylandii) is a cultivated hybrid of Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Alaska Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis) and, as such, is not really considered a plant native to North America. Since our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson are plants native to North America, we wouldn't recommend planting the Leyland cypress. Certainly the native range of its two progenitors doesn't include Central Texas and there are problems concerning hot summers making them prone to diseases.

Since you are looking for a privacy screen, you probably are interested in an evergreen. Here are a few suggestions with Central Texas as the native range:

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), 30-40 feet, but can reach 90 feet

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel), 10-20 feet, can reach 30 feet

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), 12-25 feet, can reach 36 feet

You can also visit the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service and Texas A&M University to search for trees using your own criteria.


Juniperus virginiana

Sophora secundiflora

Ilex vomitoria

 


 

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