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

Construction problems on site in Mansfield OH
April 28, 2012 - Last year we had a rectangular above ground pool put in the person who "leveled" for use did a terrible job and basically dug a huge hole for us to put our pool in. The back side of the pool is abou...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for privacy screen in Austin
March 11, 2008 - I would like some suggestions for plants to form a privacy screen between our backyard and our neighbor's. The site is shady, under old Texas Ash and pecan trees, and is located in North central Aust...
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy hedge in North Las Vegas
October 29, 2007 - My lot is in North Las Vegas. Looking to plant something that will be a privacy hedge. Full sun with horrible soil. Local nursery suggested the following: Green Cloud and Gray Cloud Texas Sage, Feat...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for pool in Cleburne, Texas
March 15, 2009 - I recently put in a very large pool. I need to plant something for fast growing, taller than an 6 ft fence for privacy. The property isn't so appealing behind my pool. When standing on my deck, I ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center