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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: Manchester, NH
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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 have neighbors on both sides who live approximately 50 feet away. We want privacy and we want it quickly. What is the best bush/tree/shrub to plant that would grow tall enough, wide enough, and dense enough to provide us privacy from the neighbors and that won't cost a ton of money? Also, how far apart should we plan to plant said bush/tree/shrub from each other?

ANSWER:

We get a lot of questions from people looking for privacy barriers, living fences, etc. We feel we need to put a Warning Label on our answers. We can certainly try to find some plants, probably shrubs, that will grow in your area in New Hampshire. What we cannot do is guarantee they will do what you are hoping for. One factor is the sun. We consider "sun" to be 6 or more hours of sun a day, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" less than 2 hours. We assume you are looking for something evergreen for year-round coverage, which will be even harder to find in New Hampshire. 

We make these warnings because we would hate for you to spend the money and effort putting in shrubs (fencing in an acre is a lot of shrubs), and then find they would not flourish and fit your purpose. We would suggest you visit some nurseries, price what it would cost just to buy the shrubs, plus hiring labor (if you are not going to do it yourself) to put them in, and installing hoses or waterlines to keep them irrigated. The larger the shrub, the higher the cost, and the more difficult the transplanting. Small shrubs will take that much longer to achieve the effect you're looking for. Compare that cost with fencing of some sort that will serve the same purpose and doesn't have to be watered. Frankly, we don't know which would be better, every situation is different, but much to our chagrin, native plants are not the perfect solution to every problem. We will be recommending only plants native to New Hampshire, and hopefully that will be a less expensive proposition. However, nowadays so many plants are grown in mild climates, in greenhouses, and shipped in season to local nurseries, we're not even sure you would save on transportation costs.

In terms of how far apart to plant the trees or shrubs, that varies with each plant, and also with the speed of coverage you are looking for. We will look at both trees and shrubs, including some that are not evergreen. You can follow the plant link to the individual page on each plant and find out what the estimated height and/or width will be, what the growing conditions are, etc. We found six shrubs, all deciduous, and two trees, both evergreen, that might serve. You can go to our Native Plant Database and select other criteria to find alternatives to our suggestions.

Shrubs for privacy screen in New Hampshire 

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush) - deciduous, 6 to 12 ft. tall, blooms white, yellow in April, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood) - deciduous, 6 to 8 ft. tall, blooms white May to July, moist, acidic soil, sun, part shade or shade

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark) - deciduous, 3 to 10 ft. tall, blooms white, pink May and June, low water use, sun, part shade or shade

Salix humilis (prairie willow) - deciduous, 6 to 12 ft. tall, blooms yellow, green purple, brown March to May, high water use, sun

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet) - deciduous, 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms white June to September

Trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) - evergreen, 30 to 40 ft. tall, low water use, sun, part shade, shade

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) - evergreen, 30 to 40 ft. tall, medium water use,sun, part shade, shade


Lindera benzoin

Viburnum dentatum

Physocarpus opulifolius

Salix humilis

Spiraea alba

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Screen for utility box in Seabrook TX
February 21, 2011 - Utility box cover: Thinking of using star jasmine on a three sided fence/trellis. Each side 3 ft sq. I can send a picture. Not sure best fence style to use or way to plant. Suggestions? Need cove...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for pool
June 16, 2008 - i am building a pool i have a neighbor whom im trying to shield out of seeing us. i would like to plant an evergreen tree the pool will be used year round. i need an evergreen that wont have an ov...
view the full question and answer

Native plants under trees for privacy barrier in Fairview, TX
April 29, 2009 - I am looking for suggestions on what to plant for a Privacy Barrier. The area in question is a shaded area under a tree line of about 200+ feet long. I am hoping for year round coverage. The canopy...
view the full question and answer

Native trees for privacy screen in Central Texas
October 24, 2007 - I live in the hill country outside of Austin,TX in somewhat rocky terrain. I wanted to plant a tree for a privacy screen to hide a neighbor's house. I was considering a Leland cypress. What are yo...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for barn from Washington TX
April 27, 2013 - We live on a large ranch and have someone now next to us that built a barn on our fence line that we want to make a tree barrier to hide it, so we need to plant trees that will grow at least 15-29 fee...
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