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
1 rating

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

 

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Sheet mulching before planting Habiturf from Grand Prairie, TX
March 03, 2014 - Have you tried sheet mulching as a bed prep and to kill bermuda grass before planting habituff?
view the full question and answer

Blackfoot daisy turning brown in Round Rock, TX
September 30, 2009 - A few days ago, our blackfoot daisy was doing wonderfully. Then we got heavy rains and suddenly the plant is sere and brown. Did the too wet weather do this, and will it come back next year?
view the full question and answer

Planters for wildflower exhibit in Jemez Springs NM
November 28, 2010 - I am planning to have a wildflower/pollinator exhibit at a visitor center located on a high elevation grassland (no trees). I would like advice on the size of the planter boxes.The area is located at...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification and advice about moving it
March 10, 2010 - I have a plant (a thick stalk about 4 foot tall with yellow flowers on it) that blooms in the morning and the flowers fall off at night. I have searched for info on this plant and have come up short. ...
view the full question and answer

Care of Ixora by lowering soil pH
March 24, 2007 - I have a bunch of Ixoras that the leaves are turning brown, before I pull them out, is there any kind of treatment to save them? I have used insecticidal soap several times but there has been no impro...
view the full question and answer

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