Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - August 31, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Privacy hedge, thick, fast-growing in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to plant a privacy hedge in Austin Texas Edwards escarpment so it's rocky soil. Looking for something thick, fast growing and can be kept to 7'. It's along a wrought iron fence and ranges from direct sun to shaded by 15' oaks.

ANSWER:

There are a few native shrubs that can be kept trimmed to about 7 ft, and tolerate part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) or sun (6 hours or more of sun.) One thing we want to warn you about is that more and more gardeners are discovering that they cannot grow much of anything under oaks. This is partly because of the shade, partly  because of the competing roots, and partly because of allelopathy. Allelopathy is the emission of substances that impede the flourishing of plants beneath that tree. Another warning: don't try to plant the shrubs you select now, in late August/early September. It is still way too hot. Woody plants should be put in the ground in late Fall or early Winter in this part of the world, while they are in partial dormancy. This will give their roots time to develop before the Texas heat makes it imperative for those roots to be able to transmit water and nutrients from the soil up to the leaves, which are the food manufacturers for the plant. 

We will go to our Recommended Species and select Central Texas on the map, after which we will specify "shrubs" for General Appearance and "sun" or "part shade" for Light Requirements. You will need to follow each plant link to the page in our database on that plant to find out what its water needs and growing conditions are. We know you would probably prefer evergreen shrubs to help maintain privacy year-round, but that narrows the range of choice quite a bit.

Shrubs for Privacy in Georgetown TX:

Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot) - 2-6 ft. tall, deciduous

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) - 3-5 ft., deciduous

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) - 3-10 ft, deciduous

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - 12 to 25 ft., can be trimmed to hedge, evergreen

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - 3 to 5 ft., evergreen

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 8 ft., evergreen

Senna lindheimeriana (velvet leaf senna) - 3 to 6 ft., deciduous

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - 5 to 10 ft., evergreen

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ageratina havanensis

Callicarpa americana

Eysenhardtia texana

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Senna lindheimeriana

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Granbury, TX.
April 14, 2011 - We live on a rocky hill in Hood County, Tx. and need suggestions for evergreen anything that will provide privacy. Red Cedars were added in October 2010 and it looks as if half of those are dying. He...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for Privacy Fence in Hawaii
July 06, 2016 - I live in Hawaii and need to create some privacy along a wall of my house. The septic drain field is 5' away and I am looking for 6'-8' shrubs that have shallow roots. Would something like cordyline f...
view the full question and answer

Tall screening tree for Santa Barbara, California
August 20, 2011 - Hi, we live in Santa Barbara, California. We are looking for a tree between 20-30 feet high to block the neighbors two-story house yet the area we have to plant is 3 feet from the fence to the drivewa...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs or trees for privacy screen in New Hampshire
May 30, 2009 - I am looking to put up a living privacy wall in my yard. My husband and I just bought a house in Derry, NH, and have a rather large backyard (approx. 1 acre), which seems to get continuous sun. We h...
view the full question and answer

Screen Tree for Lockhart, TX.
March 30, 2015 - What is a good screening tree for a ranch in the Lockhart area that won't get much water.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.