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?


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
2 ratings

Thursday - April 30, 2009

From: Tonkawa, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native trees or shrubs for privacy in Tonkawa, OK
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in North Central Oklahoma and I want to plant trees or shrubs along 100 ft of creek to create privacy. I would like them to grow at least 15 to 20 ft tall. What would you recommend for this location?


We discovered when we went to our Native Plant Database that there were few shrubs that were satisfactory, so all our selections are trees. We tried to find as many evergreen trees as we could, and several that grow low to the ground naturally and could serve for even more privacy.  Three of the evergreens are members of the Juniperus species, which often come under criticism because of their pollen; however, they grow down to the ground, are thick and evergreen, and native to Northern Oklahoma. Of course, all the trees we listed are native to Oklahoma, as that is our specialty-plants that are native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. However, on a few of these, we had difficulty finding out if they were native to Kay County. Ordinarily, the USDA website on individual plants will have indicators of the state to which the plant is native, as well as the county. In this case, several did not have the county information. If you are undecided on whether a choice might not do well in your area, contact the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension office for Kay County.

Oklahoma native trees for privacy

Sideroxylon lanuginosum (gum bully) - semi-evergreen to 48 ft. tall, blooms white June and July, water use low to medium, sun to part shade

Betula nigra (river birch) - deciduous, 30 to 50 ft. tall, can thrive on moist soils, part shade

Catalpa bignonioides (southern catalpa) - deciduous, 25 to 40 ft., blooms white May and June, low water use, part shade

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) - deciduous, 15 to 30 ft., blooms pink March to May, low water use, part shade, shade

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - deciduous, 15 to 30 ft., blooms white, pink, purple April to September, low water use, sun

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) - deciduous, 15 to 30 ft., blooms white April and May, high water use, part shade

Ilex opaca (American holly) - evergreen, 12 to 36 ft. medium water use, part shade

Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) - evergreen, to 30 ft., low water use, part shade

Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper) - evergreen, to 20 ft., low water use, part shade

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) - evergreen, 36 to 72 ft.,  low water use, sun, part shade, shade

Maclura pomifera (osage orange) - 36 to 72 ft., evergreen, medium water use, sun

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) - evergreen, 15 to 30 ft., medium water use, sun, part shade

Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Betula nigra

Catalpa bignonioides

Cercis canadensis

Chilopsis linearis

Chionanthus virginicus

Ilex opaca

Juniperus ashei

Juniperus pinchotii

Juniperus virginiana

Maclura pomifera

Prunus angustifolia






More Shrubs Questions

Hankering for a view-blocking hedge in Hempstead, TX.
July 03, 2013 - Hempstead is 50 miles west of Houston and I am looking for a fast growing native to provide a block of a view for a fairly large area (about half a block). I would prefer something that is also benef...
view the full question and answer

How to correct Anacacho leaves that are turning brown and curling in Driftwood, TX?
May 11, 2012 - Anacacho lunarioides leaves are turning brown and curling,how do I correct?
view the full question and answer

Toxic trees and shrubs in Pennsylvania
September 30, 2008 - I have a long property edge that I have been gradually transforming from a former cattle pasture into a hedgerow of native trees and shrubs. Cattle still graze on the other side. Are there any toxic...
view the full question and answer

Salt from water softener affecting roses.
October 12, 2007 - I have a water softener at my well and wonder if an accumulation of salt over time is causing problems for my roses. After several years of doing really well the branches turn brown and eventually die...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center