En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 13, 2009

From: Santa Rosa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen for Santa Rosa CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a very fast growing privacy hedge/screen, 15-20 ft., requires not much pruning. I want an evergreen with not a lot of mess. The area gets full sun and after the plant is established, it will get minimum water.

ANSWER:

Fast growing, minimum water, evergreen, low maintenance, tidy, 15 to 20 ft. tall; boy, wouldn't we all like to find that? In California, we can probably find some evergreen plants, but they may not get up to 15 to 20 ft. We have observed that fast-growing trees and shrubs tend to have weak wood, to break down, and are short-lived. And, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we only recommend plants that are not only native to North America but to the area in which they are being grown, so you're not going to hear anything from us about "instant privacy," "shade in a year," or any of those other claims. Just the facts, ma'am.

After going to our Recommended Species section, clicking on Northern California, and searching on first shrubs and then trees for some plants that will meet at least some of your specifications, we found exactly one shrub and two trees that even came close.You can use the same technique to go back to our Native Plant Database and find others that might work for you. Follow the plant link to the webpage for each individual plant, read all the information, and follow the Google link at the bottom of the page for even more information. You did not specify if you needed plants for shade or sun, so we will be looking at plants that have low to medium water usage, and let you know what light requirements each one has.

Shrub for Northern California

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) - evergreen, 15 to 20 ft. tall, blooms white June to September, sun, part shade or shade. low water use. Pictures

Trees for Northern California

Juniperus occidentalis (western juniper) - evergreen, 15 to 50 ft., low water use, sun. Pictures and more information

Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) - evergreen, 20 to 30 ft., medium water use, sun. Pictures and more information


Heteromeles arbutifolia

Pinus contorta

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen tree for California screen
September 28, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need a tree for screen and privacy. Our neighbors are building a second story. We will loose our privacy and our patio will be like a fish bowl. I will plant it about 2 fee...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Privacy Screening in Central Texas
July 11, 2016 - I live in Cedar Park, Texas and have a neighbor who likes to have parties. I need a evergreen tree/hedge that will provide privacy and sound barrier. We have some wax myrtles but they don't work. We ...
view the full question and answer

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs with fragrant flowers for screening in NY
October 27, 2010 - I'm trying to find a bush or shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the fence that would get between 6 and 8 ft tall. Something neat, and if possible with fra...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a barrier in Ft. Worth TX
February 22, 2014 - Hello, I'm looking for a natural barrier as an alternative to a fence in my backyard. I see several other questions answered relating to this but I'm looking for something specifically as a nativ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center