En Español

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Feeding live oak and redbud trees from Fredericksburg TX
October 23, 2012 - Can you please tell me what to feed my live oak and texas redbud trees that survived the drought? We have granite soil.
view the full question and answer

Native grass lawn for San Antonio
June 25, 2011 - Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on ...
view the full question and answer

Garden problems from Centreville VA
July 23, 2011 - Plants die, trees won't grow. I've replaced the soil (6") twice. Replaced grass twice and planted new plants and tree. After two yrs, the tree is still the same size and the flowering bushes nea...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub looking like honeysuckle in Odessa TX
October 02, 2011 - Bought a shrub in Pecos, TX yesterday. It looks like honeysuckle but the brightest flat orange I have ever seen. Flower and greenery looked like honeysuckle but when I looked on the Internet under or...
view the full question and answer

Plants for small shady area with clay soil
August 09, 2011 - Many people have space between the sidewalk and the street in front of their homes. In that space in front of our house is a growing maple that provides a lot of shade. The space is very dry, with...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center