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

Erosion control on slope from Columbia SC
April 25, 2013 - We are in the process of having a new home built in Columbia South Carolina. Part of the front yard has a steep slope starting approximately four feet from the corner of the house and running to the ...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for Amber Jubilee Ninebark in California
November 22, 2014 - AMBER JUBILEE bush separating my neighbor and me, is spreading its roots into our water pipes. Want to rip out. What plants are root friendly and also give you privacy?
view the full question and answer

Small shrub with thorns for Austin
February 08, 2010 - I'm looking for a shade-tolerant 2-3' shrub with thorns, native to Texas (ideally central Texas) - an alternative to Barberry? Does such a plant exist?
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