Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Shrub to screen backyard and block noise
March 14, 2009 - I'm trying to find a shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the 60ft of my back fence that would get between 8 and 10 ft tall. I would like something that att...
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow plants non-toxic to horses
April 07, 2012 - What would be a good, fast growing, hedgerow plant that is NON-POISONOUS TO HORSES? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for barn from Washington TX
April 27, 2013 - We live on a large ranch and have someone now next to us that built a barn on our fence line that we want to make a tree barrier to hide it, so we need to plant trees that will grow at least 15-29 fee...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.