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

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

 


 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Fast-growing, non-poisonous evergreen vine for California
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I am in the north bay area of California, north of San Francisco, need a quick growing vine to cover a very long section of chain link fence that is not poisonous (back yard backs up to school pla...
view the full question and answer

Tree for screening along road
August 20, 2008 - What would you recommend for a linear tree lined street that needs to act as a buffer to hide less desirable backyards of ugly houses. The road is on lake travis near austin, texas. was hoping for a...
view the full question and answer

A Bounty of Edibles for New Braunfels Texas
October 25, 2013 - I was hoping you could suggest a few plants that would serve several purposes. I live in New Braunfels, TX and would like to incorporate as many drought tolerant plants which would support birds, but...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen large shrub/small tree for screen in Houston
May 26, 2010 - I live on the west side of Houston Tx. I need an evergreen large shrub or shorter tree between myself and a busy neighborhood road. There is a power line above this so we would like something that e...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for California screen
September 28, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need a tree for screen and privacy. Our neighbors are building a second story. We will loose our privacy and our patio will be like a fish bowl. I will plant it about 2 fee...
view the full question and answer

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