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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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Tuesday - March 30, 2010

From: Center, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.

ANSWER:

Before you start planting, you might consider amending that clay soil a bit. As much rain as Texas has received this year. clay soils are absorbing that water, swelling up, and making it difficult for plant roots to access nutrients in the soil as well as causing drainage problems. Most plants do not take well to water on their roots, or the inability to obtain enough oxygen. Working some  compost into the soil will assist with the drainage and help the roots. The next thing you need to consider is timing; the optimum time for planting woody plants in Texas is in the Fall or late Winter when the plants are semi-dormant. So, if you want to get those plants in the ground before the Summer, you need to do it now. It will be easier on you and the shrubs. Plants put in the ground in the intense heat of Texas' Summer can easily develop transplant shock, which retards their growth and can kill them. That's a lot of time and money to invest in a dead plant.

We are going to our Recommended Species, click on East Texas on the map, and then select "shrubs" or "trees" under General Appearance, and "part shade" (from 2 to 6 hours of sun daily) under Light Requirements. You can repeat the search and make your own selections, or use different characteristics to search on. Some of these plants are classified as both trees and shrubs. Follow each plant link to the page on the individual plant to learn more about it.

Evergreen privacy screen for East Texas:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia)

Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria

Morella cerifera

Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

Magnolia grandiflora

Pinus taeda

Prunus caroliniana

 

 

 

 

 

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