Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - March 08, 2006

From: Richmond, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native drought resistant evergreen plants for privacy hedgein clay soil in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

My family would like to create privacy around our 4 acres of fence line. What native evergreen or fast growing bushes would work? We have terrible clay soil and need drought resistant plants.

ANSWER:

Here are four suggestions ranked by maximum height from smallest to largest:

1. Dwarf wax myrtle, Morella pusilla (5-6 feet)
2. Wax myrtle, Morella cerifera (6-12 feet)
3. Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (12-25 feet)
4. Eastern red-cedar, Juniperus virginiana (more than 40 feet)

All are evergreen, drought resistant, tolerate clay soils, and are commercially available. The wax myrtles will need water until they are well-established, but then should do fine in drought conditions. All but the yaupon are relatively fast growing. If your soil is the shrink-swell waxy-type clay that's had the loamy topsoil stripped away, you might consider planting native grasses in with the native woody plants to break up the clays over time with their fibrous roots, allowing for better moisture retention. You might consider planting a combination of both the wax myrtle and dwarf wax myrtle interspersed with the cedar and yaupon. Your particular habitat and soil may favor better growth in one or more of these. You can then add more of the ones that grow more rapidly. The slower growing yaupon will add variety and interest as well as berries for birds and other wildlife.

You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants by visiting the National Suppliers Directory.
 

More Trees Questions

Trees for pool area in Solano County, California
June 02, 2010 - We are looking for trees we can plant with non-invasive roots near our pool. We don't want them to get too big (about 10 feet) because we don't want them to shade out our pool. We also don't want...
view the full question and answer

Juniperus virginiana and some pines for Florida
July 11, 2007 - I live in Pensacola, FL (Northwest Florida, practically lower-coastal Alabama) and I am looking for a medium size tree that will cast shade on my home. The house faces due west and it gets extremely h...
view the full question and answer

Shrub to scrren house from dust from gravel road
July 28, 2013 - HI: We live in the foothills of Dobbins, California (2 hours North of Sacramento, Ca). I live on a gravel dirt road with traffic that goes about 45 miles an hour. When they drive by our house it lo...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting crabapple tree from root sprouts
March 24, 2005 - I have a Crabapple tree that is sending up sapling shoots. Can these be dug up and planted?
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree in California
May 02, 2012 - A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
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.