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

Replacement for Amber Jubilee Ninebark in California
November 22, 2014 - AMBER JUBILEE bush separating my neighbor and me, is spreading its roots into our water pipes. Want to rip out. What plants are root friendly and also give you privacy?
view the full question and answer

Native trees for privacy screen in Connecticut
November 21, 2008 - I am looking to replace a row of white pine trees with something else along the border between our yard and neighbor's yard. We only get afternoon sun and we need something that will grow to around ...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for for screening along a 70 ft fence in Dallas, TX.
June 29, 2009 - Hi, My new home backyard is right adjacent to an intersection of reasonably busy roads. The other side of one of these roads is commercial area. From your website, I understand that Wax Myrtle is bes...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Charleston, WV.
April 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in zone 6 and an looking for an evergreen privacy type hedge that grows no taller than 10'-12'. I am not interested in any boxwood type of hedge. The evergreens would be ...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center