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

Monday - November 23, 2009

From: Comfort, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Plant screen for Comfort TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My house sits on a hill between Fredericksburg and Comfort. Darn, if my neighbors didn't build so close to my property line that I can see into their cabin when the trees drop their leaves in the fall. Is there anything at all that I can plant to create privacy along a slope to hide their house? I mean something like Bamboo--that just takes over and gets really tall--I know I can't do that since I exist solely on rain water, but is there any native plant at all fairly similar? I'd really appreciate some help.

ANSWER:

You must not live in an area where minimum distances between a structure and the property line are required, worse luck. Bamboo is not only a bad idea because you are in what is ordinarily a pretty arid climate, but also because it can be extremely invasive, and simply take over. See this invasives.org website on Phyllostachys aurea, Golden bamboo for more reasons why you don't want that. In addition, bamboo is native to China. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. 

It also would be difficult to get any screening shrubs growing without some supplemental water, especially in the first months after planting, and it would take several years for even the faster growing shrubs to get up high enough to give you any real screening. Without knowing what height you need to cut off the view of your neighbors' window, we are going to recommend some really tall native grasses (bamboo, by the way, is also a grass, member of the family Poaceae) and a couple shrubs for starters. Beyond that, about all we can think of is a tall fence, or suggesting curtains to your neighbors.

Follow each link to the page on that plant to learn its expected height and culture needs. Obviously, you need something evergreen, as you already pointed out you couldn't see into the other building until the leaves started dropping. 

Grasses for screening in Central Texas:

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) - warm season perennial, 4 to 8 ft tall

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) - 3 to 8 ft. tall

Shrubs for screening in Central Texas:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) 12 to 25 ft. tall, evergreen

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - 8 to 12 ft, evergreen

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - to 30 ft. tall, evergreen, poisonous seeds

From the Native Plant Image Gallery:


Andropogon gerardii

Sorghastrum nutans

Ilex vomitoria

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Can Monterrey Oak be topped into a bush from Austin TX
June 16, 2013 - I received a suggestion to use Monterey oak as privacy hedge by topping the small tree and letting it bush. I can't find any pictures or info on this being done though.
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for barn from Washington TX
April 27, 2013 - We live on a large ranch and have someone now next to us that built a barn on our fence line that we want to make a tree barrier to hide it, so we need to plant trees that will grow at least 15-29 fee...
view the full question and answer

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen large shrub/small tree for screen in Houston
May 26, 2010 - I live on the west side of Houston Tx. I need an evergreen large shrub or shorter tree between myself and a busy neighborhood road. There is a power line above this so we would like something that e...
view the full question and answer

Native Texas shrub for privacy screen in hot area
August 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a lot facing dead west which I'm sure you can understand is brutally hot in the summer. I'm putting in a pool in my backyard and would like to plant a native Texas...
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