En Español

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 - March 15, 2009

From: Cleburne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Screening plant for pool in Cleburne, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 have a 6 ft privacy fence, but my deck is built up so, people going to the diving board can look over at the next doors UGLY BURNED DOWN HALF STANDING BARN. Is there anything I can plant that will completely block this view? I was thinking baboo? The area needed to be blocked is about 50 yards in length. I will be planting this in front of a redwood fence 50 ft in length. If you can think of anything that I can plant, please let me know...

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise are in plants native to North America. The only bamboo native to North America is Arundinaria gigantea (canebreak bamboo) and there are two subspecies Arundinaria gigantea ssp. gigantea and Arundinaria gigantea ssp. tecta.  The A. gigantea ssp. tecta is the shorter of the two, growing only to about 8 feet tall; whereas, the A. gigantea ssp. gigantea can grow up to 30 feet tall.  This giant cane or canebrake bamboo does require lots of water so that might be a factor in your decision to plant it.  Also, bamboos can be invasive since they spread quickly by rhizomes (underground stems). You certainly would want to consider installing a barrier to keep it from spreading out of control.

Assuming you want an evergreen plant for screening year round, here are three other possibilities: 

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) can grow into a tall tree (>40 feet), but it can be an effective dense screen if you plant them close together and keep them pruned.  They also have berries that attract birds.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) grows 15-25 feet high and female plants produce red berries that attract birds.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine, but if you wanted to extend your fence upwards by a couple of feet with a trellis, trumpet honeysuckle growing on it would make a good screen.  It attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.


Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

 

 

 


 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Shade Trees for Flagstaff AZ
June 14, 2015 - I live in Flagstaff, AZ and in need of good shade trees all around the house. We live in the Doney Park area (east of Flagstaff) and it is very windy in the spring time. We need the trees for priva...
view the full question and answer

Privacy shrubs and trees that are safe for horses in California
June 16, 2012 - What type of privacy shrubs/trees can I plant that are safe around horses? I live in the central valley in CA. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen and windbreak plants
June 14, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am searching for ideal plants to provide a privacy screen and windbreak for the north side of my yard. I live in Pflugerville..the soil seems mostly caliche but hits limest...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
May 30, 2009 - I am looking to put up a living privacy wall in my yard. My husband and I just bought a house in Derry, NH, and have a rather large backyard (approx. 1 acre), which seems to get continuous sun. We h...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center