En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 13, 2008

From: Foster City, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen for garden and pool in California
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need a fast growing screen for privacy. Here are the issues:1. we have a 3 story apartment building looking right into our backyard. so trees need to be at least 15' tall and dense. 2. we have a pool so can't be too messy or root invasively. 3. the planter is only 19" deep but 51 feet long along the property border. I have been told, that black stem pittosporum, purple viscosa hopseed and carolina cherry laurel will be good choices. What do you think? I was also considering fern pine and crytomeria radicans but they are rather slow grow? We don't like junipers. Greatly appreciate any advice.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses on plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. Since some of your plant ideas are non-native, let us give you some websites where you can do more research, since they are not in our area of expertise. We really can't answer for how messy any of these plants are, in terms of keeping trash out of your pool. Any tree or shrub is going to shed dead leaves, blooms, etc. through the year. The space you have, especially the depth, is a concern, as roots are going to spread out beyond the dripline of tree or shrub. 

Non-native to North America

Black stem pittosporum-native to New Zealand, Dave's Garden Forum on Pittosporum tenuifolium

Fern pine-Native to East Africa, see this Dave's Garden Forum on Podocarpus gracilior

Cryptomeria japonica cv. "Radicans" - native to Japan, Dave's Garden Forum on Cryptomeria japonica

Native to North America- follow links to our webpages for more information

Dodonaea viscosa (Florida hopbush) - native to S. Florida and S. Arizona; Foster City, in Central California, near the coast, should be warm enough.

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) - native to California. Warning: the seeds of all members of the Prunus genus are poisonous. 

Other Native Suggestions, all native to California

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon)

Quercus dumosa (coastal sage scrub oak)

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber (birchleaf mountain mahogany)


Dodonaea viscosa

Prunus caroliniana

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Quercus dumosa

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plant screen for Comfort TX
November 23, 2009 - My house sits on a hill between Fredericksburg and Comfort. Darn, if my neighbors didn't build so close to my property line that I can see into their cabin when the trees drop their leaves in the f...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for Dallas-Fort Worth area
May 18, 2010 - Our red tip photina hedge is slowly succumbing to black spot and we'll need to replace it within the year. (Yes, I now understand red tips come in two varieties: diseased and about to become disease...
view the full question and answer

Need plant suggestions for a 700' long privacy screen in Wimberley, TX.
May 27, 2011 - I live in Wimberley. Tx Dot has ruined 700' of my side yard's (& back yard's) privacy by clearing all the plants/trees that had grown up in their right of way adjacent to our property. They're als...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for Tucson AZ
May 25, 2012 - I need to plant some "fast growing" trees or shrubs on my southwest yard in order to reduce the heat in my bedroom. What do you suggest? I live in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you in advance. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Tall trees for privacy screen in St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of evergreen tall trees I can plant for privacy in my back yard in the st. Augustine, Florida area. Thanks for your assistance.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center