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

Monday - October 11, 2010

From: Sag Harbor, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Hedge options for Sag Harbor, New York.
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse


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 of the house. We would like a 6-8ft high evergreen hedge to start near the white railings on the porch and go across the yard to our driveway. We were considering Leyland Cypress or even Cherry Laurel (but we found out the laurel has poisonous berrys for dogs) Please help! Jay and Flora


There are many choices of evergreen shrubs native to your area. They come in all shapes and sizes, and some are better suited for hedging than others. We will work up a search using the recomended spiecies section of the web site. By choosing your state first, then adding further criteria of shrub, sub shrub and tree, you will see that the choices are numerous. From the lists generated you can click on each species to read about their characteristics. Check to make sure it is evergreen, check the size and growing conditions to make sure that it suits Sag Harbor New York. Make sure to check and see if any parts of the plants are poisonous

Something you might want to consider is creating a hedgerow. Hedgerows are a combination of species growing along a line merging together as they grow. This was a common practice for farms. They used these as field boundaries, windbreaks and means of keeping certain wildlife away from plants. For a homeowner a hedgerow allows for variety, privacy, and will actually attract wildlife. For hedgerows offer good nesting habitat and if some of the plants produce berries, food. If chosen and planted with care a hedgerow can reduce the maintenance needed from little to none. Compared to single species hedges which usually require pruning to keep the hedge the height and width you are looking for.

Having one plant for a hedge is a particular look and that might be what you are going for. If not consider the option of combining plants using trees as your base then adding shorter fluffier plants in front of the trees. This may also reduce your cost, as trees are typically more expensive than flowering shrubs.

Below are some species you might want to consider.

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Rhamnus alnifolia (Alderleaf buckthorn)

Rosa palustris (Swamp rose)

Ribes aureum var. villosum (Golden currant)


Ilex opaca

Ribes aureum var. villosum

Rosa palustris









More Shrubs Questions

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Disappointing Fall color from sumac in Dodge City, KS
May 07, 2013 - We have had a fragrant sumac bush growing in our front yard (faces south) for several years. While it is healthy and growing well, we are always disappointed in its lack of bright fall foliage. It d...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
March 19, 2008 - Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are pa...
view the full question and answer

Something damages leaves on Tecoma stans from Austin
November 08, 2013 - Help! Something is chomping my Esperanzas. I thought it was deer but they don't seem to be eating other yellow bells in my neighborhood. I think it's an insect. Something is completely stripping the...
view the full question and answer

Lack of Blooms and Low Hanging Limbs on Mountain Laurels
August 06, 2014 - My mountain laurel didn't bloom this year but has a few hard pods on it. It is 9 ft tall but very top heavy with most growth low. I need to prune it a lot at the bottom because it has branches hangi...
view the full question and answer

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