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Friday - November 23, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Drought-tolerant shrub for privacy screen
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Is there some kind of drought resistant bush or thorny plant we can rim our property with to stop all the foot traffic through our yard? We don't care if it's pretty, just something thick and/or thorny to stop people wandering through our property day and night. We have over an acre lot which is near IH35 and would like some privacy. We have bamboo on one side which works nicely, but can this be transplanted to grow on the empty side of our yard? Thank you!


Mr. Smarty Plants has several recommendations, but they don't include your bamboo since it isn't native to your area and what we are all about at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants, and landscapes."

Since you are looking for privacy, Mr. SP is going to recommend several evergreen plants that are native to your area:

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)—both thorny and evergreen

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)—can be trimmed into a thick hedge

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Here are a couple that are both evergreen and very thorny, but are only 1-3 feet tall (unless they are in bloom):

Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant)

Agave univittata (thorncrest century plant)

Agave americana (American century plant)

You can look for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting our National Suppliers Directory.


Mahonia trifoliolata

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Juniperus virginiana

Morella cerifera

Agave havardiana

Agave univittata

Agave americana

More Privacy Screening Questions

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June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
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Evergreen shrub/small tree for screen in southern California
August 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I would like to find an evergreen hedge, ~15-20' (or so) to screen a busy road (noise and visual). I'm zone 8b - 92539 (close to) - light snow in winter (to -25) and can ge...
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July 11, 2015 - Hello, I'm looking for an evergreen vine to grow on a free standing trellis. It is used as a screen on our back porch, so ideally we would not like to use anything that flowers due to the insects ...
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Privacy Screen for Heavy Clay and Full Sun in Louisiana
April 19, 2013 - What would be a fast-growing plant for privacy in Louisiana? I have heavy clay and full sun.
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Recommendations for a 700 ft. noise and privacy barrier in Georgia
January 06, 2009 - Need recommendation for a fast growing, non-invasive native plant for a 700' barrier (noise & privacy) in wooded area; the area is mostly hardwood with some pine, and a good understory is established...
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