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

Need a privacy screen of native plants for swimming pool in Garden Ridge, TX
February 10, 2013 - We are building a pool and would like to use native plants as a screen around the fence, preferably a shrub that grows quickly to about 6 feet. Any suggestions? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

A nice-looking, fast-growing privacy hedge for Oregon
May 27, 2011 - Would you please suggest a fast growing option to create a privacy hedge? I need to get my husband off the boxwoods he is touting.. The ideal solution would grow to 8 feet high, look interesting all y...
view the full question and answer

Covering dead arborvitae with non-native ivy from Niles MI
April 14, 2013 - I have a severely thinning arborvitae hedge. It is probably too shady, but I want the privacy. I'm thinking of planting something like ivy to fill the gaps. I know it will probably kill the hedge, bu...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for New York apartment balcony.
August 17, 2009 - Hello, I live in an apartment in New York City with an outdoor large balcony. I would like to buy evergreens to make the space more private. Do you have any suggestions on what type of plant woul...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing hedge for North Carolina.
February 17, 2009 - I am looking for a fast-grownig evergreen hedge that can be kept no taller than 6 feet. It will be grown in partal sun facing north
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