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

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub/small tree for screen in southern California
August 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I would like to find an evergreen hedge, ~15-20' (or so) to screen a busy road (noise and visual). I'm zone 8b - 92539 (close to) - light snow in winter (to -25) and can ge...
view the full question and answer

Noise reduction hedge from Austin
April 17, 2013 - Noise reduction hedge row in Austin. We back up to a very busy street and need a fast growing noise barrier. In a similar post for the Houston area, you recommended Gordonia lasianthus -loblolly bay. ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy screen
August 08, 2012 - Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually rea...
view the full question and answer

Trees to replace Ligustrums, and evergreen vines for privacy screen
January 21, 2008 - We had 3 ligustrum trees growing along a creek bank in our back yard and under the City of Austin power lines. Our backyard is on a terrace about 7 feet above the creek's flood plain. The Ligustrums ...
view the full question and answer

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