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

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


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.


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

Evergreen sumacs for privacy along fence
August 02, 2014 - I would like to plant enough Evergreen Sumacs along our fence for privacy for the length of our backyard which is 60 ft. Fifteen feet on the left and right ends are shaded with the right side being d...
view the full question and answer

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

Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Granbury Texas
December 21, 2014 - We need to put an evergreen privacy screen between our barn and our neighbor's new 132' long, unattractive building, which runs along & is just 40' away from our fence line & where they have decid...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

Thorny shrub for deterring break-ins in southeast Texas
February 05, 2013 - Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Rosa Rugosa rose but it is not native.
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center