Explore Plants

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
    
 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Trees for screen around pool near Dallas
June 13, 2010 - I am looking for a native plant to use around a pool to provide screening (I am putting in a 12 ft tall set of flag poles to suspend a sun screen the HOA wants me to block the flag poles) I have 8 ft ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, Shaded Privacy Hedge for Wakefield RI
September 12, 2013 - We recently removed the dead undergrowth of white pines that were used for privacy. We need advice as to what type of evergreen would be suitable for growth beneath the branches above. It is VERY shad...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Santa Rosa CA
May 13, 2009 - I am looking for a very fast growing privacy hedge/screen, 15-20 ft., requires not much pruning. I want an evergreen with not a lot of mess. The area gets full sun and after the plant is established...
view the full question and answer

Blocking out noise from pond pump in Holly MI
April 02, 2010 - My neighbor has a motor for his pond pump that faces my backyard--it is extremely loud and irritating after listening to it for 5 hours or more. Is there any type of shrub that I can plant to block o...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
November 23, 2011 - I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome ...
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.