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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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Sunday - December 28, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Narrow, evergreen shrub for privacy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio and my backyard is all driveway except for a 2-3' space in front of a 6 ft chain fence. I'd like to find an evergreen narrow shrub for privacy. Would Nandina be a good choice? I need something fast growing, narrow, and not decidious.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants says:  "No! no! no!  not Nandina!"  Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) is an invasive non-native plant from China and Japan and we would never recommend using it in landscaping.   Below are some beautiful, evergreen native alternatives.  Your best bets are probably the first two.  They will provide the thickest screen and they can be trimmed to keep them from becoming too wide for the area:

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) and more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

Morella cerifera [syn. Myrica cerifera] (wax myrtle) and more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

The next two are a bit slower growing, but trim well into a hedge:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) with more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) with more information from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

The final two make a prickly evergreen hedge—in case you wanted to keep the neighbors from walking through it:

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) and more from the Aggie Horticulture Database.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) and more from the Aggie Horticulture Database


Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia swaseyi

 

 

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