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?


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

Friday - April 02, 2010

From: Holly, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Blocking out noise from pond pump in Holly MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford


My neighbor has a motor for his pond pump that faces my backyard--it is extremely loud and irritating after listening to it for 5 hours or more. Is there any type of shrub that I can plant to block out some of the noise? Thanks


Is this something that has just been put in, or you just moved in and discovered it? It would seem possible that there could be some sort of zoning regulations that would require the owner of the pump to do something to abate the noise. If you happen to live in a Homeowner's Association, you should certainly go to their Board and ask about the noise.  Have you talked to the owners of the pump? They may be unaware of the noise level because of where it is placed; perhaps it needs adjustment or the bearings need servicing.  We certainly can, and will, see if we can find a shrub that would help with the noise; however, you would probably need something evergreen, which could be a little hard to find in Michigan. The problem is, the farther the barrier is from the source of noise, the less effective it is going to be, and you will have to plant a lot of shrubs. If it can be done, it would be much better to have the sound barrier around the noise source than on your property line.

From the Michigan Township Association, we found a list of Anti-Noise Regulations which included this one:

"12. The operation of any machinery, equipment or mechanical device so as to emit unreasonably loud noise which is disturbing to the quiet, comfort or repose of any person."

Whether your town has this set of ordinances in effect, we have no idea, but you should certainly check with local authorities. Now, on to your original request, for some shrubs that might help block that noise. We found 3 that are evergreen and native to your USDA Hardiness Zone of 6a to 6b, in Oakland County. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant for more information on height, water and light needs, etc. Unfortunately, none of these are very tall, and would therefore probably block the noise better planted around the pump than on your property.

Evergreen Shrubs for Sound Barrier in Holly, MI:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Juniperus communis var. depressa (common juniper) - more information and pictures

Ilex mucronata (catberry) - more information and pictures


From the Image Gallery

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

More Privacy Screening Questions

Shade trees for Tucson AZ
May 25, 2012 - I need to plant some "fast growing" trees or shrubs on my southwest yard in order to reduce the heat in my bedroom. What do you suggest? I live in Tucson, Arizona. Thank you in advance. I'm...
view the full question and answer

Hedge to cover chain link fence
September 04, 2010 - Hi, I would like to hide 250 feet of 6' tall chain link fence on a western facing, sloped, very rocky soiled back yard I had to use a jack hammer to dig the holes. Esthetically I would like to be abl...
view the full question and answer

Barrier Planting in Boston
January 29, 2013 - I live in the Boston area and a school is being built right behind my property. The school kindly left me a 100' barrier that includes some 40' high pines, a couple of tall oaks and some spindly po...
view the full question and answer

Oak root resistant hedge for Southern California
December 28, 2013 - I live in Southern California and my cypress hedge has oak root fungus. What kind of hedge can I plant that will grow fast and be resistant to the fungus?
view the full question and answer

Native, flowering plants for privacy fence in Hamilton Co., TX
October 31, 2006 - Looking for a native plant or climbing vine to grow on a high (8') game fence to create privacy and hide what's behind the wire. It will be planted near Hico, Texas. Would love the added benefit o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center