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?

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
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

Wednesday - May 19, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Plants for privacy shield in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are looking for a tall hedge on the lot line between us and our neighbors. Thinking Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) would be a good choice. Question: how close should we plant them together to get both good privacy and healthy growth? Also thinking about tall Italian Blue Cypress. Same question: How close can we plant them together?

ANSWER:

Starting with the last question first, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North Amerca but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Cupressus sempervirens, Italian Blue Cypress, is native to Africa, Temperate Asia (including, of course, Cyprus) and Greece. Here is an extract from a USDA Forest Service website Cupressus Sempervirens:

"Italian Cypress is often used for framing, as a strong accent around large buildings, or in the formal landscape but does not lend itself well to many home landscapes. It quickly grows much too tall for most residential landscapes, looking much like a green telephone pole." The article also says that if they are planted 3 ft. apart, they make a dense screen.

Going back to a native plant, Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry), we have another quotation, this time from a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

"Although a little west of its eastern limit, Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) would be a good choice for a small evergreen tree in your landscape. You might also consider Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)." 

As a general rule, the diameter of a shrub is about equal to the height of the shrub. In other words, if you have a six-foot tall shrub, it should spread about three feet in every direction for a total of 6 feet in diameter. So, if you want a screen effect, a distance of 5 to 6 ft., trunk to trunk would allow the outer tips of the shrubs to mesh. You can plant them closer if you wish, but they would begin to shade each other, and the interiors of the plants would become scraggly and less of a screen. 

Pictures of Cupressus sempervirens from Google

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Prunus caroliniana

Prunus caroliniana

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria

 



 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy hedge that can be trimmed
June 06, 2011 - Please help us find a screening plant or tree (preferably native and evergreen with flowering and/or berries) which is non-invasive, not a vine, at least six feet tall if not taller, which can be easi...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for privacy screen in Richmond, VA
February 27, 2013 - Hello, I read through the previous posts on privacy screen plantings in the Mid Atlantic region. There was a lot of great information, but I has a specific question that was not answered. I would li...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen shrubs for part shade in Texas
January 31, 2015 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I'm, for some reason, at odds with myself about a shrub decision. I have need about 8 ft of hedge-like evergreen shrub(s) that I can maintain around 4ft to go under a window. It...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screen options for Seymour CT
June 03, 2011 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants: Looking for a quick growing privacy hedge for a home in Seymour CT. Thank you very much, I appreciate your help.
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Pace Florida
March 10, 2014 - We live in the Florida panhandle and I wondering what we could use as a natural fence line between our property and the neighbor's. I love the look of oleander, but upon research found it to be toxic...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center