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

Saturday - September 04, 2010

From: Santa Ana, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Hedge to cover chain link fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi, I would like to hide 250 feet of 6' tall chain link fence on a western facing, sloped, very rocky soiled back yard I had to use a jack hammer to dig the holes. Esthetically I would like to be able to trim the hedge very straight to match my very contemporary style home. Irrigation is not a problem. Thank you.


Well, I hope you have a least a little bit of soil on top of the rock or you are going to have a bit of a problem getting anything to grow there.  Here are some possibilities—all are evergreen and all native to Orange County:

Arctostaphylos densiflora (Vine Hill manzanita) and here are photos and more information.

Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber [syn. Cercocarpus betuloides] (birchleaf mountain mahogany) and here is more information.

Ceanothus leucodermis (chaparral whitethorn) and here is more information.

Ceanothus tomentosus var. olivaceous (woolyleaf ceanothus) and here is more information.

Heteromeles arbutifolia (toyon) and here is more information.

Lycium californicum (California boxthorn) and here is more information.

Malacothamnus fasciculatus (Mendocino bushmallow) and here is more information and photos.

Malosma laurina (laurel sumac) and here is more information.

Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) and here is more information.


From the Image Gallery

Smooth mountain mahogany
Cercocarpus montanus var. glaber

Chaparral whitethorn
Ceanothus leucodermis

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Simmondsia chinensis

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy screen in Idaho
February 15, 2010 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I need to add privacy to a chain link fence. The fence is shaded by large trees.They add shade from up high but little privacy at fence level.What would you recommend I plant...
view the full question and answer

Hedge options for Sag Harbor, New York.
October 11, 2010 - Hello, My fiance and I live in Sag Harbor, NY on the East End of Long Island. We would like to plant a hedge across our yard to separate the front and back and have privacy. Here is a picture o...
view the full question and answer

Need Fast-Growing Screening Shrub for Arlington, TX
March 16, 2011 - What fast growing shrub/tree could be planted along side a fence to provide additional privacy? We have a pool in our backyard and the view behind our house is less than enjoyable. We would like to ...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for privacy screen
June 22, 2008 - Hi, We live in Aptos near the ocean. However, what you suggest to plant near our fence to screen out the one story house behind us. They have a large tree near in their backyard that sits against our...
view the full question and answer

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