Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - February 08, 2009

From: Rutland, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen around pool in Vermont
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a plant or tree that doesn't lose its leaves or needles that can offer privacy around my pool but not grow tall enough to block out the sun in the early and late hours. Would an evergreen variety be a good choice? Also an affordable price is part of the criteria, due to me having to plant enough to go around the pool fence.

ANSWER:

An evergreen would be an excellent choice, although you probably don't need that much privacy around your pool in Vermont in January. However, all plants, evergreen or deciduous, replace their leaves or needles at some point during the year. With some, there is just constant attrition year round; with others, they drop big time at the first cold snap. Either way, you will have to do some cleanup pretty regularly to keep those leaves or needles out of your pool and filter. Also, you need to consider the roots of whatever you choose. You didn't say what would be the distance between the plants and the pool, but trees have roots that can extend 3 times their height, and can cause damage to foundations, pipes and walkway surfaces. We will try to find a shrub, evergreen if possible, that will give you about 6' in expected height, and will not have invasive roots. We have no way of determining cost of these plants, as prices are determined by the plant, the area in which you live, and general pricing practices there. We will, however, provide you with access to native plant nurseries in your area that you can contact for availability and pricing. We will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which you live. Natives are already accustomed to the climate, and will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. 

We are going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on Vermont on the map, NARROW YOUR SEARCH and select "Shrubs" under Habit. We will take a look at the selections recommended and find you a choice of several we think would work for you. To find suppliers for these plants, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. 

SHRUBS FOR VERMONT

Ilex glabra (inkberry) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft. tall and wide

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood) - deciduous, 6 to 8 ft. tall

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft. tall

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) deciduous, 6 to 8 ft. tall, very attractive red stems in winter


Ilex glabra

Viburnum dentatum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus sericea

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Plants for delineating property line
July 18, 2010 - I have a neighbor who does not mow his grass or take care of a strip that runs between my property and his. I would like to plant some inexpensive, low maintenance, shrubs, that would do well in full...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen screening shrubs for New York
May 27, 2008 - I need evergreen screening shrubs that aren't too deep. The shrubs are to be planted along an existing wrought iron fence, which is a few feet behind a children's swing set.
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen by pool in Friendswood, TX
October 07, 2009 - We just moved into a new home with a pool in the backyard. We are trying to figure out what to plant along the back fence to allow for a bit of privacy; we have no direct backyard neighbors but there...
view the full question and answer

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.