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

Monday - September 20, 2010

From: Clermont, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Tree or shrub for acoustical protection in Clermont FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What type of tree or shrub would be best to lower the db level of freeway noise in Central Florida? I live about 3/4 of a mile from a freeway but due to the wind and hills it causes the noise to bounce around and enter my backyard.


We are gardeners, not acoustical engineers, but we do know how severe that problem can be. To answer the question "What will help control noise?" The answer is "something dense." So far as we know, there is no decibel standard for plants, at least not yet, so we will help you look in our Native Plant Database for a shrub or tree that will at least help. No doubt, the freeway is used year-round, so you probably need something everygreen. Clermont, in Lake County, Florida seems to be in USDA Hardiness Zone 9a, so we will be looking at the genus Ilex (holly) and also Magnolia. Both of these are native to Florida, evergreen, have dense leaves, the yaupon with small leaves and the magnolia with large. They can also both be trimmed up into tree form or left as a shrub. Follow the plant link on each one to find out what kind of light (sun, part shade or shade), watering and other requirements these plants need to flourish.

Sound Barrier Plants for Clermont FL:

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Ilex myrtifolia (Myrtle dahoon)

Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia)

Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Ilex vomitoria



More Shrubs Questions

Texas sage losing inner leaves
May 14, 2015 - I have a Texas Sage bush that on the outside is beautiful with green leaves. The inside branches (the middle) of the bush are bare of any leaves. Why?
view the full question and answer

Webworm on Texas Mountain Laurel in Texas
September 02, 2015 - I thought my mountain laurel had web worms and I sprayed for them. Now the plant looks like it still has the worms even though none are present. Also, I sprayed with a fungicide because some of the ...
view the full question and answer

Information on Betonyleaf thoroughwort
September 04, 2008 - I purchased Conoclinium betonicifolium (Betonyleaf thoroughwort) at the spring 2008 LBJ WC plant sale. I've not been able to find much information on the plant in the typical places, including the...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge for Maryland Porch
July 03, 2014 - I am working on a screen/fence, which is a barrier hedge between our house and our next door neighbor's house to add privacy to our screen porch and dining area, especially in winter. The fence would...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

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