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

Thursday - November 11, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreen shrub with dense base for screen in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I just bought a house in Austin and am looking for an evergreen shrub to use as a thick hedge between my elevated yard and a bus stop. The only shrubs I can come up with tend to get thin toward the base which is close to eye height at the bus stop. Do you have a shrub for me?


Mr. Smarty Plants recommends the following three native evergreen shrubs/trees for your hedge.

1.  Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) starts off as a dense shrub and slowly thins and shows a bare trunk as it ages.  Some cultivars remain shrublike as they age.

2.  Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is another possibility.  It stays fairly thick and if you prune it judiciously to make it bush out rather than to grow tall, it should work just fine.

3.  If the place you are planting the shrub gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day, then another option would be Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo).  Besides being dense, it has the advantage of producing flowers several times a year after rains.

Juniperus virginiana

Morella cerifera

Leucophyllum frutescens



More Privacy Screening Questions

A nice-looking, fast-growing privacy hedge for Oregon
May 27, 2011 - Would you please suggest a fast growing option to create a privacy hedge? I need to get my husband off the boxwoods he is touting.. The ideal solution would grow to 8 feet high, look interesting all y...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for shrubs for for screening along a 70 ft fence in Dallas, TX.
June 29, 2009 - Hi, My new home backyard is right adjacent to an intersection of reasonably busy roads. The other side of one of these roads is commercial area. From your website, I understand that Wax Myrtle is bes...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant evergreens for privacy shield in Louisville KY
March 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our property is adjacent to the highway for ~ 200ft. I'm looking for partial-to-full shade tolerant evergreens that will grow to be relatively tall. Our soil is clay and g...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center