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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.

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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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Thursday - March 12, 2009

From: Colleyville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for screen in Colleyville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My soil is pure sand that goes down as far as I can dig. I am needing native plants to use as a screen, that grow to be 6-10 ft. tall. Also, since my plantings dry out so quickly, would it be helpful to replace the soil in a large area around the new plants?

ANSWER:

Rather than replace the soil, it would be better to amend it by mixing in pretty large amounts of compost or some other organic material before you plant. These will help with drainage (or slowing down the water loss), and make trace elements in the soil more available to plant roots. Native plants do better in native soil, but a little help couldn't hurt. After you have planted your screen, we recommend you keep it mulched with a shredded hardwood mulch, which will help to hold in moisture, protect the roots from heat and cold and, as it decomposes, continue to improve the texture of your soil. 

We will go to Recommended Species, click on North Central Texas, Narrow Your Search, and select on "shrubs" under Habit. Then, we will look at the suggested possibilities, and make sure those we pick are tolerant of sandy soil. If your soil is that sandy, a lot of others in Tarrant County will be also, so the selected species should all be pretty safe for your location. We chose only evergreen shrubs, as you obviously want the screening year-round. These plants are all commercially available; if you have difficulty locating your choices, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your area. Follow the plant links below to the individual webpages for each plant and learn the expected height, light requirements and general care for each.

SHRUBS FOR SCREENING IN NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Ilex vomitoria

Morella cerifera

 

 

 

 

 

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