En Español

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

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
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

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
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

Oak root resistant hedge for Southern California
December 28, 2013 - I live in Southern California and my cypress hedge has oak root fungus. What kind of hedge can I plant that will grow fast and be resistant to the fungus?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a screen in DC
May 05, 2011 - Live in Washington DC vicinity (zones: 7-8). Looking for hardy shrubs to screen a 47 foot long picket fence and provide barrier to neighbor. It is western exposure with sun light. Ideally evergreen, d...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Collin County, Texas
May 26, 2010 - I am looking for a shrub or tree that will serve as a privacy screen. I would like it to grow very tall and be thick to help provide some privacy. I live in Collin County, and the area where the tre...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center