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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 11, 2010

From: El Paso, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: FAST GROWING PRIVACY PLANTS IN EL PASO, TEXAS
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

Hello, First, I am totally ignorant of plants,trees planting,etc. However, I just moved to El Paso, Tx and find every home is surrounded by these hideous rock walls, which aren't nearly tall enough to serve a real purpose. Not to mention the "yard" is only about 10x10. My neighor and I should just share a patio since we have such a clear view. I need privacy fast! A fast growing hedge,bush,shade tree which doesn't atract birds/insects and that can be planted close to that wall!! Thanks!

ANSWER:

First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants only recommends native plants. Fast, growing, El Paso and native plant do not go together. Desert plants grow slowly or grow very quickly when there's moisture available, then go dormant. Secondly, any plant that doesn't attract birds or insects must be so obnoxious that you wouldn't want to be around it either.

I think the solution to your problem is better solved architecturally (raise the wall or put up a fabric screen). Alternatively, you can make friends with your neighbor and take a lesson from the plants you see growing around El Paso - adapt to your environment. 

 

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