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

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


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.


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

Flowering Dogwood for NY
February 21, 2011 - Hello - can you advise me on a disease-resistant/hardy dogwood? Every nursery I've visited has discouraged me from planting dogwoods. What would you recommend? I live in Westchester County, NY
view the full question and answer

Distance from wall to plant Eastern red cedar
September 26, 2008 - I want to plant a row of Eastern red cedar on the high side of a 2 to 2 1/2 ft large Pavestone block retaining wall, preferably as close to the wall as possible. We have put maybe 4-5" of gravel beh...
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a tree at David Crockett Cabin Museum in Tennessee
October 22, 2012 - I was in Lawrenceburg TN and stopped by the David Crockett Cabin Museum. There was a tree and it dropped lemon sized balls on the ground. What kind of tree is it?
view the full question and answer

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