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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.

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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 - 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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

TREES

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

Pinus palustris (longleaf pine)

SHRUBS

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


 

 

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