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?

Share

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

Wednesday - October 27, 2010

From: East Northport, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Shrubs with fragrant flowers for screening in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I'm trying to find a bush or shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the fence that would get between 6 and 8 ft tall. Something neat, and if possible with fragrant flowers would be nice, but I don't want anything that drops a lot of berries or other mess.

ANSWER:

You don't indicate what kind of growing conditions you have.  Plant choices are limited by light (sun/shade), soil type and moisture, not to mention that ultimately you can only plant shrubs that are available in the local nurseries.

You can start your search for plants that will meet your needs and suit your situation by visiting our Native Plant database.  If you scroll down on that page to Combination Search and select: New York, shrubs, 6-12 ft and the conditions that you have, a list of plants will be generated.  Each plant on the list has a link to a detailed information page that will give you bloom and fragrance information.

It is unlikely that you will find the perfect plant.  You may decide to forego fragrance for evergreen foliage or a tighter growth habit for better screening and noise control. Most plants that have wonderful flowers will also produce some mess, but if you choose an assortment of native plants, you will not only have a planting of easy care plants, but the flowers will likely atttract pollinators and the fruit & berries they do produce will be greatly appreciated by the birds. You don't mention how long the fence is that you would like to plant along.  You may be able to plant a mixed shrub border that gives you some of everything.

Although we don't know what your conditions are, here are some selections from that list that may work for you (based on fragrance, not form or foliage)

Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)

Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)

Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)

Rhododendron viscosum (Swamp azalea)

Rosa palustris (Swamp rose)

A few that do not have fragrant flowers but would be good screening plants are:

Cornus sericea (Redosier dogwood)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Morella pensylvanica (Northern bayberry)

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberry bush)


Calycanthus floridus


Cephalanthus occidentalis


Clethra alnifolia


Lindera benzoin


Rhododendron viscosum

 


Rosa palustris

 


Cornus sericea


Ilex glabra


Morella pensylvanica


Viburnum opulus var. americanum

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy screening shrubs from La Quinta CA
July 31, 2013 - I need a solid row of screen tree / shrubs that are at least 10 feet (prefer 12) tall and can be kept trimmed to a narrow (6 foot or less?) width. Will be planted against a 6' cement wall facing west...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for Burleson, TX.
April 09, 2013 - I moved out to the country away from the hustle and bustle only to find that I have less privacy out there because of open land. I hear children screaming and dogs barking from 1/4 mile away. I want t...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge that can be trimmed
June 06, 2011 - Please help us find a screening plant or tree (preferably native and evergreen with flowering and/or berries) which is non-invasive, not a vine, at least six feet tall if not taller, which can be easi...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for screen in Austin
November 02, 2008 - We are looking for a tall, fast growing, drought tolerant, evergreen hedge to run along our ~200' back property line in West Lake, west of Austin, TX. This is at the bottom of a slope, and runs th...
view the full question and answer

Spacing for wax myrtles as screen in Texas
December 21, 2008 - I have bought 30 wax myrtles, 15 gallon sized, and would like to plant them along my fence line, as a screen. How far apart is the recommended distance when planting plants of this size? Thank you!
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center