En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - November 20, 2010

From: Seattle, WA
Region: Northwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Large evergreens for screen in Seattle
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Our building would like large evergreens to help with freeway noise (it's right across the street with a large green belt around it.) Which Northwest Evergreens would work best? We need tall and wide ones being that it is a very big area to cover. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Why not use the Washington State Tree, Tsuga heterophylla (Western hemlock)?  It grows to 100 feet high in cultivation and nearly twice that tall in nature.   It has a graceful appearance with drooping branches and grows in variety of soils but likes humid or superhumid climatic conditions with adequate soil moisture.  Read more about it from the U. S. Forest Service and see photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

Another possibility is Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir), the Oregon State Tree.  It grows to around 200 feet, but landscape trees grow only to about 80 feet tall and 15 to 20 wide.  If it is growing alone or widely spaced from other trees, it usually retains its lower limbs.  If crowded, it may lose the lower limbs, exposing the trunk.  You can read about the tree and see more photos from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.  See, also, the University of Connecticul Horticulture site for more information.

Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) is another large (typically up to 75 feet, but can grow to 200 feet or more) evergreen that usually retains its lower branches. It is more decay resistant than the Western hemlock or the Douglas fir.  There are photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources and from Conifers.org.

Finally, there is Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) that prefers coastal areas but will grow inland in well watered soils such as river flood plains.  Here are photos and more information from Washington State Department of Natural Resources and Conifers.org.

Here are photos of the Douglas fir from our Image Gallery:


Pseudotsuga menziesii


Pseudotsuga menziesii


Pseudotsuga menziesii

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy hedge, thick, fast-growing in Georgetown TX
August 31, 2010 - I want to plant a privacy hedge in Austin Texas Edwards escarpment so it's rocky soil. Looking for something thick, fast growing and can be kept to 7'. It's along a wrought iron fence and ranges fr...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen in Kansas City, MO
April 04, 2012 - Hello, I am located in Kansas City, MO and am looking for a wall/screen plant. Last year I used a wall of sunflowers and loved them, however I want something more hardy and something I don't have to ...
view the full question and answer

Folsom CA Wall-cover
April 13, 2012 - I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really t...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center