Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 15, 2010

From: Moscow, ID
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy screen in Idaho
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I need to add privacy to a chain link fence. The fence is shaded by large trees.They add shade from up high but little privacy at fence level.What would you recommend I plant to cover my fence.I am open to anything, vine, shrub, whatever will give privacy and grow well in the shade. I live in North Idaho, we have fairly cold Winters and hot Summers.Thank you for your help!

ANSWER:

This is a bit of a challenge as you are dealing with two issues: shade and dry soil.  Large shade trees are a huge asset but they can out-compete grass and other plants a gardener would like growing underneath them. It can be tough to get plants established in these conditions but not impossible.  You will have to hand water them until they are well established and keep an eye on them in drought conditions.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the promotion of native plants and landscapes.  That means that we can only recommend plants to you that are native to your area.  If you visiit our Native Plant database and do a Combination Search by selecting Idaho and then "dry" and "shade" conditions you will see that the choices are somewhat limited.  You are hoping to cover a fence and provide some privacy, so you are probably looking for evergreens to fit the bill, but you will see there is only one.

Ultimately, your choices will be limited by the selection of plants available in your local nurseries, but here are a few plants we have selected from the list.

Shrubs

Amelanchier alnifolia (Saskatoon serviceberry)

Mahonia aquifolium (hollyleaved barberry)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rosa nutkana (Nootka rose)

Symphoricarpos albus (common snowberry)

You will have difficulty finding a vine (except poison ivy!) that will grow in these conditions but if you have at least two hours of sunlight you might look for these.

Vines

Clematis columbiana (rock clematis)

Parthenocissus vitacea (woodbine)

 


Amelanchier alnifolia

Mahonia aquifolium

Rhus glabra

Rosa nutkana

Symphoricarpos albus

Clematis columbiana

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Screen Tree for Lockhart, TX.
March 30, 2015 - What is a good screening tree for a ranch in the Lockhart area that won't get much water.
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing, non-poisonous evergreen vine for California
March 14, 2013 - Hi, I am in the north bay area of California, north of San Francisco, need a quick growing vine to cover a very long section of chain link fence that is not poisonous (back yard backs up to school pla...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Vines for fence in Bentonville, Arkansas
June 12, 2013 - I have about 600 LF of 8ft high chain link fence I would like to grow vines on in Northwest Arkansas for screening. I would like some to cover quickly but be maintenance friendly. I heard alternating ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen shrubs for Butler PA
August 09, 2013 - Here is what I want in a bush: native to Western Pa.(Southern Butler County), appropriate for a horse pasture,fast growing, not too aggressive (I will mow around it regularly and can prune occasionall...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.