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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


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.


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. 


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.


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




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