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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.

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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.

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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!

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Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Farmington Hills, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen screen for Michigan
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I need help. Can you please suggest some (preferably evergreen) shrubs and trees that will thrive in our backyard that will provide us some privacy from our neighbors (about 100 feet behind us, and they never close their curtains). Our backyard is full shade because of a heavy canopy the wooded lot provides. Is there anything that can provide us with a border with some height? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

The native evergreen choices for Michigan can all grow to be rather tall trees in their native habit (30 to over 100 feet), but if you will check the links below you will find descriptions of cultivars for each species that grow to a more modest height and with shapes that give more screening.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) has several varieties or cultivars to choose from.

Pinus strobus (eastern white pine) has several varieties or cultivars to choose from.

Picea glauca (white spruce) has several varieties or cultivars to choose from.

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) has several varieties or cultivars to choose from.

If you would like to consider deciduous species, you can check our Recommended Species page and select Michigan from the map or pull-down menu.  You can then limit your list by any of several criteria by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option.  For instance, you could select 'Shrub' from the General Appearance category.  This will give you a list of more than 25 species of native shrubs that are commercially available for landscaping in Michigan.


Juniperus virginiana

Pinus strobus

Thuja occidentalis

 

 

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