En Español

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
5 ratings

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Tree and vine for shade and privacy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We recently added a deck in our backyard which faces west, we live in Circle C (southwest Austin). The afternoon sun is intense so we're looking to plant something along our fence line to provide shade and privacy. We want something quick growing that will grow tall (20 or so feet) but not wide, since we don't want it to take up valuable yard space, maybe a tree? Also, can you recommend a flowering vine that can grow from the ground and climb to cover our brick patio columns. I'd love something fragrant, but nothing poisonous or that would attract bees.

ANSWER:

Here are tree species that have rapid to moderate growth rates. I have suggested some trees that can grow very tall (the oaks) and have a large spread. However, by the time they have the large spread their foliage will be high enough above the ground to not interfere with yard space and they will provide a great deal of shade.

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) evergreen and moderately fast growing, 15 to 20 feet

Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) moderate growth and beautiful fall foliage, 15 to 40 feet

Fraxinus albicans (Texas ash) rapid growth and beautiful fall foliage, 30-45 feet

You might consider one of the oak species that isn't susceptible to oak wilt, such as:

Quercus polymorpha (netleaf white oak) rapid growth, 40 to 80 feet

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) rapid growth, 40 to 100 feet

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak) moderate growth, 40-60 feet

Here are recommendations for three evergreen vines. I can't guarantee that there won't be any bees attracted to their flowers since bees are attracted to nectar sources. However, I can almost certainly guarantee that hummingbirds and butterflies will be attracted especially to the crossvine and honesuckle.

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine), somewhat fragrant

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle), not particularly fragrant

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower), very fragrant


Prunus caroliniana

Acer grandidentatum

Fraxinus albicans

Quercus polymorpha

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus muehlenbergii

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Evergreen shrub for part shade in Austin
September 21, 2010 - I am planning a pocket prairie on the north side of my house. Where I am struggling is finding an evergreen shrub that will grow about 6-8', be native and provide semi-privacy in front of a bedroom ...
view the full question and answer

Saving or transplanting stand of white trillium that has lost shade
May 29, 2006 - We have a generous stand of white trillium that has been under the shade of a white oak for many years. Now the 100+ year old oak has died and the trilliums are in the sun. Are we in danger of losin...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant, shade tolerant evergreens for privacy in Milford MI
April 12, 2010 - I'm looking for deer resistant evergreens that will be planted in the shade. I need the evergreens to hide an area I don't want to see from my home. Hence, they need to go tall. Can you give me a r...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrub in part shade to shade in Austin
April 29, 2010 - Barbara Medford's July 1, 2008 reply regarding Little Emperor Japanese Blueberry Tree is exactly my experience with cherry laurel in partial sun/shaded area in Austin, Texas. For 6 - 8' height si...
view the full question and answer

Native shrub for part shade in Austin
April 16, 2009 - I live in SE Austin (Dove Springs area). I have a 3' by 3' area near my front door. It gets morning sun, but not the entire morning because of the tall tree in my front yard. By 11 o'clock or noon,...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center