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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - March 11, 2010

From: Irvington , NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: New York State Shrubs to Screen Home from Traffic
Answered by: Janice Kvale

QUESTION:

I am looking for a native New York bush/small tree which I can use along a road to screen my home from year-round car traffic. The area is not terribly wide and the soil is OK. I am willing to prune and fertilize.

ANSWER:

If you are searching for a year-round screen, Mr. Smarty Plants assumes that you will want an evergreen shrub, but you may find a deciduous solution more to your liking. I have several proposals that you may entertain but you may also want to do a bit of searching through our Plant Database yourself as you know the specifics of moisture and light exposure for your site. Here is how you do that: Go to our Plant Database Combination Search. Enter your location (New York), either shrub or tree (I used only shrub but you can see what comes up under tree also), and perennial. Then indicate the amount of sunlight your site receives daily and the moisture content of the soil. Voila! A list of options appears on your computer screen.

After you have made your selection(s), find a supplier from our list in your area.

All of the suggestions below are native to New York State. Some indicate that they grow to a large size so your willingness to prune may be essential in keeping them the size you prefer. Many of the plants are those that adapt well as hedges. All of the native shrubs in this first list are evergreen.To review specific descriptions of these shrubs, click on the name.

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Ilex glabra (inkberry) 

All of the following suggestions are deciduous, but those spring blossoms may be worth a bit of winter car traffic.

Rhododendron periclymenoides (pink azalea)

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea)

Rhododendron maximum(great laurel)

Crataegus opaca (riverflat hawthorn)

Crataegus uniflora (dwarf hawthorn)

 


Ilex opaca

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Thuja occidentalis

Juniperus virginiana

Tsuga canadensis

Kalmia latifolia

Ilex glabra

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Crataegus opaca

Crataegus uniflora
 

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