En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
4 ratings

Wednesday - April 02, 2008

From: Johnston, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Native evergreen trees or shrubs for privacy screen in South Carolina
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Mr. Smarty Plants, we recently lost a grove of eleven 30+ year old white pine trees in a storm this month. They provided a natural 42'x30' screen to the front of our property and home. What type of fast growing (8+ foot) evergreen trees or shrubs would you recommend as replacements? I was considering layering a combination of magnolias and possibly Carolina Silverbells to the house side of the evergreens. We live in USDA Zone 7, Elevation 550', heavy red clay under 2-4" sandy loam topsoil, with high heat and humidity. We do have irrigation to that area. Thank you for your assistance and your web site.


We're assuming you did not want to replace the trees you lost with more Pinus strobus (eastern white pine). They are a very fine native tree, but if you feel they might come down again in another storm, we'll see if we can find something else appropriate. The need for evergreen species does narrow the field, and we found ourselves considering more pines, junipers, hollies, etc.

If we understand you correctly, your intent is to palnt another screen of trees and/or shrubs at the front of your home, with magnolias, possibly Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia) or Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay), and Halesia carolina (Carolina silverbell) in the space between the house and the screening trees. These are all North American natives, which is what we recommend at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and all three are natively distributed in South Carolina. Since we don't know the dimensions of your property, we would recommend that you become aware of the mature dimensions of these trees, so you don't get a "grove", cutting off natural light and air circulation around your house. Follow each plant link to a webpage of information on that plant from our Native Plant Database; then, at the bottom of that webpage, there will be a link saying "Search Google for (Name of Plant)". That will take you to a lot more information than we have room for in our webpages. You can do the same with the following lists of shrubs and trees, and hopefully come up with a plan for replacemeny of your previous planting of Pinus strobus (eastern white pine). All of these are also native to South Carolina and should do well under the conditions you have described.


Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) - produces a pollen that is a major allergen

Pinus palustris (longleaf pine)


Ilex ambigua (Carolina holly)

Ilex glabra (inkberry)

Ilex myrtifolia (myrtle dahoon)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Morella caroliniensis (southern bayberry) - Images

Magnolia grandiflora

Magnolia virginiana

Halesia carolina

Juniperus virginiana

Pinus palustris

Ilex ambigua

Ilex glabra

Ilex myrtifolia

Ilex opaca

Ilex vomitoria

Morella cerifera



More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy hedge plant for Phoenix, Arizona.
March 19, 2010 - Hi, Can you tell me what would be a good plant or shrub to block one side of an unsightly 6ft high wrought iron pool fence, and create some privacy. It would be full sun and the hot temperature of P...
view the full question and answer

Tall native grasses for privacy in Central Texas
June 29, 2013 - Hi- I am looking for a grass that will grow tall and be thick for privacy. I live here in Austin east of 35. Obviously something draught tolerant would be great! Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
March 30, 2008 - I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
view the full question and answer

Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
February 17, 2014 - I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center