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

Thursday - July 30, 2009

From: Hudson, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Trees and shrubs in Wisconsin
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I live in Hudson, WI, just across the border from Minn/St Paul and would like to create a privacy screen between my front yard and my neighbors yard. Right now it's full sun, but I want to plant a couple of trees as well (probably maples). I don't like the formal look of a hedge, and would like something that is interesting in the winter as well. I have lots of space. I would also be interested in planting a variety of plants. I'm new to this area, so I'm not very familiar with the plants of the north.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants gets around and has been traveling the highways and byways of the upper Midwest in search of native plants for your specific needs. Envision a background of evergreen trees which will continue the privacy you seek in winter after the deciduous trees have shed their leaves. Since you have a lot of space, you can plant in layers with taller trees in back and attractive shrubs in front. You don't indicate prevailing winter wind (let's assume north), but your trees and shrubs may serve as a windbreak or a snow fence as well so take care with placement.

For the evergreens, consider mid-size (30-60 ft.) varieties such as Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock), Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), and the 3-6 ft high Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper). Mix your choice of deciduous shrubs with or in front of the evergreens to give your space a natural woodland appearance and avoid the uniformity of a hedge. The Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry) and Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac) vary between 15-25 ft. The sumacs are stunning grouped together. Shrubs that average 6-12 ft. are Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush), Corylus americana (American hazelnut), Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood), and Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberrybush). You will enjoy the dogwood in winter as the red branches are brilliant against the white snow. To fill in the spaces at about 3 ft. are the above-mentioned juniper, Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), and Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern).

Acer rubrum (red maple) is a great tree for Wisconsin, and so colorful in the fall. So include a couple of them. Search the nurseries for them in the fall to see their red color. You can find local sources for maples and our other recommendations at the Wildflower site, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The U. S. Department of Agriculture can direct you in tree planting. Good luck!


Thuja occidentalis

Tsuga canadensis

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus communis

Amelanchier arborea

Rhus typhina

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Corylus americana

Cornus sericea ssp. sericea

Viburnum opulus var. americanum

Diervilla lonicera

Acer rubrum

Athyrium filix-femina

 

 



 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

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

Privacy and noise screen in Austin
January 17, 2009 - Mr. Smarty, I purchased a home and notice that my neighbors seem to hang outside their garage on the weekends and thus causing some noise. I need some major privacy from this neighbor and I was think...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
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