Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
4 ratings

Friday - April 17, 2009

From: Coram, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York

ANSWER:

Evergreen anything is something of a challenge in your USDA Hardiness Zone of 6a to 7b (-10 to +5 average annual minimum temperature). Finding something tolerant of no sun will be harder still. We are going to our Recommended Species Section, click on New York on the map, Narrow Your Search, and search first on shrubs and then on trees in Habit, with shade as the Light Requirement. We consider full sun to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, part shade 2 to 6 hours of sun, and shade less than 2 hours of sun. The only plant we found that comes close to your specifications is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick), which we love because of the common name. Anyway, it is evergreen, is a spreading shrub growing only 1 to 3 feet tall, and can tolerate sun, part shade or shade. A couple of trees that are evergreen and can tolerate shade are Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), but it grows to 30 to 40 feet, and Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), which under cultivation grows to no more than 30 feet. If you were to plant trees that big, they would need to be some distance from the house, so the roots would not interfere with foundations or basements. Perhaps you will need to make a different plan for that area of your property. 


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Agarita in the Winter
February 18, 2012 - I recently came upon a small grouping of agarita plants that had been somewhat choked by cedar. Having removed the cedar I noticed there were quite a lot of dead branches within the shrubs. Would Fe...
view the full question and answer

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

Shrubs for privacy in wet area in Ohio
July 13, 2011 - I am looking for flowering shrubs for Ohio that reach 8-10 feet and can handle wet feet. I am trying to avoid building a wall for privacy and would like to use flowering shrubs instead.
view the full question and answer

When does Ziziphus obtusifolia leaf and flower in Austin?
March 22, 2010 - Hello Mr. S.P., Do you know when the Texas buckthorn, Ziziphus obtusifolia (I believe), flowers (and leafs out) in Austin? Is there one at the Wildflower Center?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.