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?


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: Sedona, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Low water hedge for Sedona, AZ
Answered by: Amy Johnson


I'm looking for a shrub to plant along a 90' property line with my neighbor in Sedona, Arizona (high desert). Ideally, the shrub would grow to about 8' and would not require too much water. What would you recommend, and how many plants would I need to cover the 90' (growing to be a hedge that would completely block my neighbor's yard/house)? Thanks.


There are a few native shrubs for your area that would get to about the size you are looking for: Mountain Mahogany Cercocarpus montanus (alderleaf mountain mahogany), Red Oregon Grape Mahonia haematocarpa (red barberry), and One-seed Juniper Juniperus monosperma (oneseed juniper).  The first is mostly evergreen, the second two are fully evergreen.  Since they are all native to upland sites in your area, they should require less water, although all plants need water for the first year or so at least when you first plant them to establish their root systems.  To create a hedge, you may want to try to plant these relatively close together, and how closely you space them of course affects how many you will need.  Follow the directions given from the nursery for whichever plant you buy.  If you plant them five feet apart, you will need about 18 shrubs.   Just take your 90' length, and divide it by the spacing you decide to use to get the number of shrubs required.

There are some alternatives to a hedge you may want to consider, since it will take a little while for the shrubs to grow to 8 feet.  You could build a fence and grow vines on it.  You could also plant a few trees in combination with either the vines or some slightly shorter shrubs, say 5 feet high or so.  You could also build a berm, or a mounded area, ranging from 1-3 feet at the highest point, and then plant shrubs, trees or vines on top of that.  The more layers of different size plants you use, the more completely your view will be screened.  If you would like to explore some planting alternatives for your area, you can go to this link: Arizona Recommended Species, and narrow your search by the type of plant you are looking for.


Cercocarpus montanus

Mahonia haematocarpa

Juniperus monosperma

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Help with native plants suffering from drought and heat
September 03, 2006 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, HELP!!! I live on Lake Travis outside Austin and we planted our yard this spring with lots of wonderful native plants. Now most of them look like they are dying (in particu...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought here in Austin this year and the watering restrictions our Zoysia lawn has suffered and appears to be dead in many areas of our lawn. Will it come back? Is there anything w...
view the full question and answer

Blue plants or flowers in Baltimore, MD
July 27, 2007 - I have a taxi company in the city called Bluecab. The headquarters is in an industrial area and the soil is tough and well, industrial. There will be no watering or maintenance done. Looks like a car ...
view the full question and answer

Antelope Resistant Plants for Casper, Wyoming
August 12, 2011 - What are some drought resistant, full-sun plants for Wyoming that are Antelope resistant - Deer are not much of a problem, but antelope are!
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center