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Friday - March 27, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Privacy hedge for shady area
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - however, a large part of the perimeter is in the shade of some live oak trees - what can we plant that will form a fast growing, 6ft tall, dense hedge in the shade? Thank you.


Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is certainly a good choice for the sunny areas and it will actually grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day).  It is an understory shrub in many areas. 

Here are some other possibilities:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is another reasonably fast-growing evergreen that will grow in part shade. If you decide on this species, you should be aware that there are dwarf varieties of this species available and check carefully before you purchase your plants.

Condalia hookeri (Brazilian bluewood) is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree that grows in part shade and has a moderate growth rate.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) will grow in full shade (<2 hours sun per day) or partial shade, but its growth rate is moderate.   

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) grows in partial shade but is slow-growing.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) will also grow in partial shade but is slow-growing.  It spiny leaves would discourage any entry through the hedge.

The growth rate of any of these, of course, will be affected by the general growing conditions—soil type, availability of water, and amount of sunlight.


Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Condalia hookeri

Ilex vomitoria

Sophora secundiflora

Mahonia trifoliolata




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