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

Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: alexandria, VA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub for barrier fence in Alexandria, Virginia
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

Hi. we need plants to act as a barrier fence, 15 feet tall, partial shade. We are considering a holly or virginia magnolia. What can you suggest? thank you, Nikita

ANSWER:

You are definitely on the right track! Either one of these small trees grouped together would provide a tall, natural fence-like display. Because both are native perennials to your area, they are likely to be disease resistant and hardy. Both are popular landscape plants and should be easily located in local nurseries. Check our list of suppliers to find one. Let's look at each of these trees in detail.

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay) produces fragrant, 4-6 in. white flowers which are open during daylight in the long, hot summer. Its attractive, glossy leaves are evergreen in the south. It likes a lot of water and thrives in part-shade. The growth rate is slow to moderate eventually topping out between 12-20 ft. Find more information about this tree at our wildflower site, Flora of North America, and USDA,

Ilex opaca (American holly) grows slowly to a range between 12-36 ft. tall. It thrives in part shade with medium water use. The female tree produces small white blossoms from March through June. Both male and female specimens are necessary for blossoms. With multiple plants in a hedge having both types should not be a problem. The lovely red berries amid the pointy green leaves are characteristic of the popular holly decorations used for the December holidays. Note that the berries may be toxic to humans if ingested, though the birds and butterflies find them quite to their liking. Read more about this tree at our wildflower site and USDA.

Two other possibilities for consideration are Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw) and  Rhododendron maximum (great laurel). Both grow well in part shade and are attractive to birds. Rhododendron maximum (great laurel) is evergreen and will grow to 15 ft.  Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw) will also reach 15 ft. but is considered deciduous. Any one of these four will provide you with a long lasting barrier fence.

 


Magnolia virginiana

Ilex opaca

Viburnum prunifolium

Rhododendron maximum
 

More Shrubs Questions

Planting shrubs and flowers under pine trees in New York
July 15, 2008 - We just started to plant flowers and the whole back side of our yard is pine trees. I was wondering what types of flowers can be planted under them, and what kind of plants or shrubs can be planted un...
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Possible maple scale on non-native mophead hydrangeas from Newport RI
August 07, 2013 - I have a mophead hydrangea that has small white cottony tufts under the leaves and on the stems. I believe this is maple scale. Is there a home remedy I can use to rid this disease?
view the full question and answer

Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
February 10, 2009 - I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go na...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center