Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Friday - November 23, 2007

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

QUESTION:

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!

ANSWER:

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

Plant for privacy hedge in Oklahoma that is not poisonous to dogs
April 01, 2012 - Hello! I am looking to put a privacy hedge fence in my yard. I love the look of American Holly, however, I have a dog who eats everything so I worry that this will not be a wise choice with the b...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, non-poisonous evergreen vine for California
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I am in the north bay area of California, north of San Francisco, need a quick growing vine to cover a very long section of chain link fence that is not poisonous (back yard backs up to school pla...
view the full question and answer

Privacy and noise screen in Austin
January 17, 2009 - Mr. Smarty, I purchased a home and notice that my neighbors seem to hang outside their garage on the weekends and thus causing some noise. I need some major privacy from this neighbor and I was think...
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy shield in Austin
May 19, 2010 - We are looking for a tall hedge on the lot line between us and our neighbors. Thinking Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) would be a good choice. Question: how close should we plant them tog...
view the full question and answer

Pfluegerville Screening Hedge
May 25, 2014 - We live just north of Austin in a subdivision built on farm land so we have relatively flat land with good soil. We just put in a pool and are needing a privacy hedge along our 66 ft back fence. We ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.