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
1 rating

Sunday - July 25, 2010

From: Coppell, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen tree for screen behind a waterfall
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I want to plant 3 evergreen trees as a screen behind a waterfall and along a fence by my pool. We took down a wax myrtle due to winter/ice damage and the mess in the pool. I want male yaupon hollies for the look I am trying to achieve but cannot find males. Would the females (berries) make a mess in the pool. Do you have any other suggestions for trees or large shrubs that can be made into trees that would achieve the same look. What we had was about 15 feet tall. Thank you


The reason you are having difficulty finding male Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is because most people want the female trees that produce the red berries.  However, the female trees won't make berries unless its flowers are pollinated by pollen from trees with male flowers so there are male trees out there somewhere for the bees to visit to gather pollen for the female flowers.  The female trees are created vegetatively (cloned) so that they are identical to the parent plant.  The male plants can also be cloned and there are several male cultivars available:

Ilex vomitoria 'Will Fleming'

Ilex vomitoria 'Schilling's Dwarf'

Ilex vomitoria 'Bordeaux'

Female yaupons will make berries, birds love to eat them, and they may make a mess in your pool.  Not knowing how close the trees will be to the pool, I can't predict how big a problem it would be.    

Here are a couple of recommendations for other evergreen trees that might create less of a mess.  There are several cultivars of Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) that remain small and hedge-like.  There is 'Idyllwild' that grows to 15 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide, 'Taylor' that grows 30 feet tall and 3 feet wide and you can see more cultivars here.  Another possibility is Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry).  It also produces berries.

Finally, here is a list from the Collin County Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) of Nurseries that Specialize in Native and Drought-Tolerant Plants (& seeds) in the Collin and Dallas County areas. You might try calling some of them to see if they have male yaupons.






More Privacy Screening Questions

Fence Vines for Austin, TX
August 31, 2013 - Hi, What are the best high density vine plants for coverage on chain link fence in Austin, TX? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Looking for an evergreen vine to grow on trellis as a privacy screen
July 11, 2015 - Hello, I'm looking for an evergreen vine to grow on a free standing trellis. It is used as a screen on our back porch, so ideally we would not like to use anything that flowers due to the insects ...
view the full question and answer

Covering dead arborvitae with non-native ivy from Niles MI
April 14, 2013 - I have a severely thinning arborvitae hedge. It is probably too shady, but I want the privacy. I'm thinking of planting something like ivy to fill the gaps. I know it will probably kill the hedge, bu...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen and windbreak plants
June 14, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am searching for ideal plants to provide a privacy screen and windbreak for the north side of my yard. I live in Pflugerville..the soil seems mostly caliche but hits limest...
view the full question and answer

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