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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

Native evergreens for privacy in Crockett, TX
October 12, 2008 - I need advice on what tall evergreens I can plant along a fence line for privacy. I need trees that will be at minimum 8 to 10 feet tall at maturity, are aesthetically pleasing and provide privacy. ...
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Vine for Chain Link Fence in Virginia
March 25, 2015 - I am from Great Falls, Virginia. I would like to know what the best vine is to grow on aluminum fences to cover them up quickly but also doesn't damage expensive fences in a long term?
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Care of non-native Buddha Belly bamboos
November 08, 2014 - I have several budha belly bamboos. They froze down last winter. I have got them back to 5 ft. I need them around 8-10 for privacy. Any suggestions? Also how to I protect them this winter?
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Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Charleston, WV.
April 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in zone 6 and an looking for an evergreen privacy type hedge that grows no taller than 10'-12'. I am not interested in any boxwood type of hedge. The evergreens would be ...
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Eight Foot Screen for Austin, TX
September 01, 2011 - I'm looking for a fast-growing shrub to "extend" the height of my fence and provide privacy in my yard in Austin. My lot is pretty much full sun and very dry, mostly clay soil. 8' is my goal. Than...
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