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Mr. Smarty Plants - Shrubs/trees for screen

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Thursday - August 07, 2008

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Shrubs/trees for screen
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need several trees/tall shrubs for a screen well away from the house. The important height range is in the 4-7' range for effective screening. Soil is caliche rich but can be amended, sun will be full, and they will get minimal water after they are established. A fence will be installed for the first year or two to protect them from drought stressed deer. I've come up with Desert Willow, Wax Myrtle, Yaupon Holly, Mountain Laurel and Evergreen Sumac as possibly usable natives. Can I get an educated opinion on the suitability of one or more of these (or other) choices, esp. with respect to deer damage? Other issues include the growth rate, size and height of the crown for an effective screen. Thanks for any help you can offer.

ANSWER:

All the species you named would work, but some better than others and I have a few additions. First of all, Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) would be my last choice even though it is a very attractive shrub/tree. It is moderately deer resistant, but it is not evergreen and its foliage can be rather airy and not provide a good screen.

All the remainder appear on the Deer Resistant list.

The two fastest growing ones are Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) and one that I added, Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), and both should provide a reasonably dense screen.

The other three you named, Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) and Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) are a bit slower growing but they would also be an effective screen.

Two other evergreens although somewhat slow-growing, Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) and Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry), are also worth considering.


Chilopsis linearis

Morella cerifera

Leucophyllum frutescens

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia swaseyi

 


 

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