En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 31, 2009

From: Cross Plains, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrubs or trees for privacy shield in Cross Plains TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a small tree or large bush that will stay green year round to use for a privacy shield. We have electrical lines overhead so I need to keep it a low growing tree or bush that will help block the view of our home from the road. We live just outside Cross Plains, Texas and would like something native, if possible.

ANSWER:

Good, we only do natives. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we believe that plants native to an area will require less water, fertilizer or maintenance. We looked at a couple of regional vegetational maps for Texas; one showed Callahan County as having both  the Edwards Plateau and the Rolling Plains represented in the county and one showing Rolling Plains and Post Oak Savannah. So, when we looked at our Recommended Species map for various areas of Texas, it looked like Cross Plains is right on the junction of North Central Texas, High Plains and Central Texas. To try to get the broadest range of possibilities for your purposes, we are going to look at all three areas in our Recommended Species for shrubs and small trees and see what we can come up with that is evergreen and will not require severe pruning beneath electrical lines.

The biggest problem in this search is finding evergreen plants that will not get too tall, interfering with your electrical lines. Junipers and live oaks fall into that category. Another problem is soil moisture; you can't expect a moist soil to persist very long in that part of Texas. Some of the ones we chose could be too short, but would at least form a visual barrier. One, Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita), will form a real barrier, as it is armed with prickly leaves. Remember none of these will be an instant privacy shield, all will take several years to grow to a useful height. Follow the plant links to the page on each individual plant, check on growing conditions, expected height, and bloom times to fit your particular requirements. If you make a selection and have difficulty locating it, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, enter your town and state and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area.  It would also be a good idea to check with your Callahan County Extension Office for more information on specific plants for your purpose. 

Shrubs

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 8 ft.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - 12 to 25 ft.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - 2 to 8 ft.

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - 8 to 12 ft.

Trees

Acacia greggii var. wrightii (catclaw acacia) - 6 to 10 ft.

Cercocarpus montanus var. argenteus (silver mountain mahogany) - 6 to 10 ft.

Pistacia mexicana (American pistachio) - 12 to 20 ft.


Mahonia trifoliolata

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Acacia greggii var. wrightii

Cercocarpus montanus var. argenteus

Pistacia mexicana

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Native climbing rose for Austin
April 25, 2010 - Is there such a thing as a native climbing rose that would do well in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Tacoma stans or Yellow Bells
September 05, 2006 - We have seen a plant along the freeway here in Round Rock...beautiful greens leaves and the most amazing yellow flowers. Someone told us it was an esperanza plant and drought tolerate; however, I can...
view the full question and answer

Narrow, evergreen shrub for privacy
December 28, 2008 - I live in San Antonio and my backyard is all driveway except for a 2-3' space in front of a 6 ft chain fence. I'd like to find an evergreen narrow shrub for privacy. Would Nandina be a good choice?...
view the full question and answer

Information on edible tubers of hog potato from Austin
November 10, 2011 - I inquired a while back about hog potato or Hoffmannseggia glauca. You gave me some information on the plant but no information on when the plant produces the edible tubers. Also how long does it take...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive Siebold viburnum from Isleboro ME
June 17, 2012 - I was given several small Siebold Viburnum for planting on my Maine property. Even though it is often for sale in nurseries, I'm aware it is listed as invasive in several eastern states. Shouldn't I...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center