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
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

Blocking out noise from pond pump in Holly MI
April 02, 2010 - My neighbor has a motor for his pond pump that faces my backyard--it is extremely loud and irritating after listening to it for 5 hours or more. Is there any type of shrub that I can plant to block o...
view the full question and answer

Plants to augment a privacy fence in Virginia Beach.
February 24, 2009 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA and I have a small back yard about 75 ft deep and 60 ft wide. We have a six ft privacy fence but still have many undesirable views over the fence I would love to block out...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for St. Paul MN
June 17, 2010 - I am looking for a native vine that will stay green, or at least keep its leaves, throughout the winter. The vine will be grown on a trellis between our house and our neighbor's, and we want to keep...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
May 30, 2009 - I am looking to put up a living privacy wall in my yard. My husband and I just bought a house in Derry, NH, and have a rather large backyard (approx. 1 acre), which seems to get continuous sun. We h...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center