En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native shrubs for privacy hedge in Lockhart, TX

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

Sunday - December 21, 2008

From: Lockhart, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrubs for privacy hedge in Lockhart, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I will be retiring from the US Army to Lockhart, Texas in March. We have a small house with a 6' security fence. I have always been an advocate of Hedges for security, sound dampening and wildlife refuges / bird sanctuaries. I am looking for a good species for the area that will grow at least 6' tall, fill out and be "happy" when pruned to a depth of about 18" from the fence if possible. Thorns are OK if the best species happen to sport them. I'd like to get the hedge planted ASAP upon my arrival to give it time to get rooted before it gets too hot. Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Sounds like an excellent retirement project and, fortunately, there are several evergreen shrubs that grow well in Central Texas that should serve your purposes. However, we are a little concerned about your desire to prune up to 18" from the fence. Are you saying that the total depth of the shrub is going to be 18"? In the first place, these are all moderately to fast-growing, and that is going to take a lot of pruning. In the second place, if you do, indeed, prune it that much, your plants will be constantly struggling to keep putting on new growth and leaves to maintain nutrition. They probably never will have enough energy to produce berries, which attract wildlife, and will not provide adequate cover for birds to nest or just hide from predators. If your property extends beyond the security fence, perhaps the shrubs could be on the outside and further from the fence, to permit them to fill in naturally. They would still provide the sound dampening, protect your house from view, and invite the birds.  Of course, if you prefer to have them inside the fence, you could still allow them to grow an adequate depth for flourishing, but it is going to intrude a little bit more on your garden space inside the fence.

If you are interested in birds, you will want berry-producing plants. Five of these plants do so, but only on the females. One, Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush), does not produce berries but is a nectar source and provides nesting sites and cover. The others are all dioecious, which means there must be at least one male of the same species within 30 to 40 feet for pollination in order for the berries to develop on the females. All of these shrubs are evergreen, and three of them can get up to at least 12 feet tall. The mahonias are the "thorny" type plants you mentioned, and ordinarily only grow  4 to 6 feet in height. The nurseries from which you purchase the plants should have suitable distances between the shrubs to suggest, but a pretty standard distance between hedge shrubs is about 5 to 6 feet, If you have difficulty locating suppliers for these Texas native plants, go to our Native Plant Supplier section, type in your town and state, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)- 5 to 8 ft.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)- 3 to 6 ft.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry)- 3 to 4 ft.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)- 12 to 25 ft,

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)- 8 to 12 ft.

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - 6 to 12 ft.


Leucophyllum frutescens


Mahonia trifoliolata


Mahonia swaseyi


Ilex vomitoria


Rhus virens


Morella cerifera

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Twisted hibiscus tree in Plainfield, IN
April 24, 2009 - I have just bought 4 twisted hibiscus trees and repotted them immediately then brought them into my screened in porch until I was certain the weather would be safe to keep them outside (I live in Cent...
view the full question and answer

What hydrangeas can be grown in Austin?
June 02, 2011 - I was told that oak leaf hydrangea was the only hydrangea variety that could be successfully grown in Austin TX. My oakleaf hydrangea is doing great and I would like to plant other varieties. Can you...
view the full question and answer

Revegetating a hillside in western Washington state
October 10, 2012 - Removing several downed trees across my dock demolished the native plants growing on the hillside and the contractor pulled out their remains. The area faces east on an open freshwater bay. Close to...
view the full question and answer

Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
October 20, 2012 - I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
view the full question and answer

Blue plants or flowers in Baltimore, MD
July 27, 2007 - I have a taxi company in the city called Bluecab. The headquarters is in an industrial area and the soil is tough and well, industrial. There will be no watering or maintenance done. Looks like a car ...
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