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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - December 24, 2010

From: Porter, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrub for hedge in Porter, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are trying to decide on what would be good privacy hedges (at least 6 ft. tall) to run down our long backyard chainlink fences. I'm allergic to Ligustrums and we have 2 dogs and a cat which I heard that oleanders are toxic, too, so if they are toxic to pets they aren't an option. I was thinking about red tipped fettinias, but someone said they are very prone to fungus diseases in our area (Porter). So with these things in mind what would you recommend?

ANSWER:

First of all, we wouldn't recommend any of the hedge plants you list.  They are all non-natives and what we are all about here at the Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."  Moreover, all the Ligustrum species and two of the Photinias (I think that is what you mean by 'fettinias') are in the Texas Invasives database.  Besides being a non-native Nerium oleander (Oleander) is highly toxic.

The Native Plant Society of Texas Houston Chapter in its Information Pages has an excellent collection of resources and recommended lists of plants for the Houston area near you.  Here are several evergreen shrubs/small trees that would make a good screening hedge that appear on one or more of their lists:

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel)

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine that would grow very well on your chainlink fence and act as a screen.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)

Instead of picking just one of the above, you might consider using a combination of two or more of the above plants to make a more interesting privacy screen.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera


Morella cerifera


Ilex vomitoria


Ilex vomitoria


Prunus caroliniana


Lonicera sempervirens


Sabal minor


Sabal minor

 

 

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