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

Friday - September 11, 2009

From: Merced, CA
Region: California
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrubs for privacy in Merced County California
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Mr. Smarty, A main road will be moving closer to our home in the next two years. A chain link fence will be put in but we would like to start planting now for privacy. We would appreciate any ideas for trees or shrubs that would provide 12 months of privacy in the Central Valley of California. Thank you for your help.


Mr. Smarty Plants found the following evergreen plants of various sizes for your fence line. These were all found to either occur in Merced County or in one or more adjacent counties according to the USDA Plants Database distribution maps.  You can see more possibilities in our California-Northern Recommended list.

Arctostaphylos patula (greenleaf manzanita) 3-6 feet tall

Carpenteria californica (tree anemone) 4-8 feet tall

Ceanothus leucodermis (chaparral whitethorn) 4-8 feet tall

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus (blueblossom) 3-18 feet tall

Ceanothus velutinus (snowbrush ceanothus) 3-5 feet tall

Dendromecon rigida (tree poppy) 6 feet and taller

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) 6-8 feet

Juniperus californica (California juniper) 10-15 feet tall and here are photos

Morella californica (California wax myrtle) 10-25 feet and here are photos

Umbellularia californica (California laurel) a slow grower to 40 feet

Arctostaphylos patula

Carpenteria californica

Ceanothus leucodermis

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

Ceanothus velutinus

Dendromecon rigida

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Umbellularia californica



More Shrubs Questions

Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
July 10, 2009 - Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, dry slope in NY
March 01, 2010 - Looking for plants, native to area, that are quick growing to a height of approximately 6" to 12" for a steep slope comprised of shale in a sunny location.
view the full question and answer

Can Calycanthus floridus survive in South Dakota?
March 06, 2009 - Calycanthus in South Dakota? I've recently purchased some seeds for a calycanthus plant (floridus I think). I'm going to start them indoors but am wondering if this can survive a South Dakota winter...
view the full question and answer

Hedge of native Purple Sage in Austin
November 20, 2008 - Hi, I would like to plant a dense hedge of Purple Sage that will hopefully grow from 6-8 ' tall and about 4' wide. I purchased the Silverado Sage Leucophyllum frutescens 'Berstar Dwarf' variety....
view the full question and answer

Small Shrub for a Foundation Planting in Michigan
May 15, 2014 - I need a small, native, perennial shrub for a foundation planting in Michigan.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center