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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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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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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