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

Evergreens for privacy in VA
June 24, 2012 - I need fast growing evergreens or large shrubs, flowering or non-flowering, for privacy. They will need to flourish among large oak and hickory trees that are 75 plus years old. We don't want to dama...
view the full question and answer

Hankering for a view-blocking hedge in Hempstead, TX.
July 03, 2013 - Hempstead is 50 miles west of Houston and I am looking for a fast growing native to provide a block of a view for a fairly large area (about half a block). I would prefer something that is also benef...
view the full question and answer

Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
March 30, 2008 - I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for a screen in DC
May 05, 2011 - Live in Washington DC vicinity (zones: 7-8). Looking for hardy shrubs to screen a 47 foot long picket fence and provide barrier to neighbor. It is western exposure with sun light. Ideally evergreen, d...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for privacy screen
May 01, 2009 - I live out in the hill country in Volente, TX. I'm looking for a fast growing, native evergreen tree variety that would make a good privacy screen. I don't want a hedge, but I do want to replace a...
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