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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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Tuesday - August 12, 2008

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub to hide chain link fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, Please recommend a tall, thick shrub to conceal the 6 foot chain link fence around the perimeter of our property. The fence is located down a hill from our home with western exposure and full sun. While we can run a soaker hose down there to establish the roots, I would love to have tall shrubs that will conceal the fence, act as a noise barrier from the street and require no watering throughout the summer. Is there such a plant? The nursery recommended red tip photinias but after reading your article about disease with these plants, I'm reconsidering. Thank you for your advice.

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants certainly wouldn't recommend redtip photinia (Photinia X fraseri) since not only is it not a plant native to North America, but it is also on the TexasInvasives.org list. You will see that TexasInvasives.org recommends two substitutes: Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) and Rhus virens (evergreen sumac). Both are evergreen and drought tolerant.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is another evergreen, drought-tolerant choice that has the advantage of being fast growing.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) and Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) are both evergreen and drought-tolerant, but are slower growing.

One other possibility is Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar). It normally grows into a tree, but can be pruned to form a hedge. It is evergreen, drought-tolerant and would form the thickest hedge of the ones mentioned.


Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia swaseyi

Juniperus virginiana

 

 


 

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