En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Screen plant for Austin

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
1 rating

Monday - March 30, 2009

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Screen plant for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Austin Texas and am looking for a small tree or large shrub that will obscure the view from my kitchen window into my neighbors. I am looking for an evergreen plant that gets no wider than 8 feet and is at least 6 feet tall to block the window. I would like a native plant, one that will tolerate dry limestone filled soil. The tree would be located on the south side of our house. Thank you for your help.

ANSWER:

You probably would prefer something evergreen for this purpose, but we will also suggest some small deciduous trees that would make a lovely view out of your kitchen window, and in the winter, even the bare branches would block the view somewhat. We do want to caution you about roots and foundations. Even if you plant a small tree, you need to be aware that most of the roots will be in the upper 6 to 12 inches of soil, and can extend beyond the canopy (shadow line) of the tree. A smaller tree or shrub is not going to be much of a threat to your foundation, especially as long as you keep the soil around the foundation from settling by making sure it is kept moist during dry times. We would still suggest that you plant a shrub about 4 feet from your foundation, and a tree at least 6 feet. This will also keep the mature shrub or tree from being so close to your window that it has to be pruned back to keep it from banging on the side of the house. You didn't say, but we are assuming, since you plan to plant on the south side of your house, that it will get a fair amount of sun. We are going to go to our Recommended Species for Central Texas, and look for shrubs and trees that require sun (6 hours or more a day) to part sun (2 to 6 hours). Since they will be native to this area, they will already be adapted to our dry limestone filled soil, and require less water, fertilizer and maintenance.

Shrubs for Central Texas

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - semi-evergreen

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - evergreen

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen

Small trees for Central Texas

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) - deciduous

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - deciduous

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - deciduous

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) - deciduous


Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

Morella cerifera

Bauhinia lunarioides

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chilopsis linearis

Prunus mexicana

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Shrubs/ Trees for Privacy Screening on Cape Cod
April 17, 2012 - Hi, I need a recommendation for a row of trees/shrubs that I can put on my boundary line to block my neighbor. It's in a wooded area that I could thin somewhat. I would need them to be fast growing...
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

Trees for screen around pool near Dallas
June 13, 2010 - I am looking for a native plant to use around a pool to provide screening (I am putting in a 12 ft tall set of flag poles to suspend a sun screen the HOA wants me to block the flag poles) I have 8 ft ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for screen in North Carolina
September 14, 2008 - Recently moved into a new "cluster" development where homes are very close together. Need to plant bushes / trees for privacy and would like fast growing ones that are good in the south. Attempted...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen
August 08, 2012 - Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually rea...
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