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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 27, 2008

From: Floral Park, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen screening shrubs for New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.

ANSWER:

We are rather limited in the native evergreen shrubs that will be a good choice near a children's play area, but here are a couple:

Ilex glabra (inkberry). You can read more about several of the cultivars. Although generally a rounded shrub, it can be pruned to shape it to your space. Here is more information from Ohio State University.

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry). You can find information for several of the cultivars from the University of Connecticut and more information from Virginia Tech. This plant does have leaves that are spiny so it might not be ideal for your area with small children.

Here are a few native evergreens to avoid because they have toxic properties:

Leucothoe fontanesiana (highland doghobble)

Kalmia spp.

Rhododendron spp.

You find information about poisonous plants in Poisonous Plants of North Carolina and Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database.

As an alternative to an evergreen shrub you might consider ferns that are evergreen and reasonably tall. Here are a few suggestions:

Dryopteris cristata (crested woodfern)

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)


Ilex glabra

Mahonia aquifolium

Dryopteris cristata

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides
 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen for privacy screen in Virginia
December 02, 2008 - Last year we lost a large pine that was part of privacy screen and we replaced it with two Eastern red cedars. There is still a substantial gap that won't be filled in by the cedars and we were cons...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Granbury, TX.
April 14, 2011 - We live on a rocky hill in Hood County, Tx. and need suggestions for evergreen anything that will provide privacy. Red Cedars were added in October 2010 and it looks as if half of those are dying. He...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Privacy Screening in Central Texas
July 11, 2016 - I live in Cedar Park, Texas and have a neighbor who likes to have parties. I need a evergreen tree/hedge that will provide privacy and sound barrier. We have some wax myrtles but they don't work. We ...
view the full question and answer

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...
view the full question and answer

Hedge to cover chain link fence
September 04, 2010 - Hi, I would like to hide 250 feet of 6' tall chain link fence on a western facing, sloped, very rocky soiled back yard I had to use a jack hammer to dig the holes. Esthetically I would like to be abl...
view the full question and answer

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