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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.

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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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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!

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Friday - January 07, 2011

From: Douglassville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Looking for a fast-growing evergreen shrub to use along a fence line to obscure unsightly surroundings in Douglassville, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in far East Texas (near Texarkana). I need a fast growing, thick evergreen shrub to plant along a fenceline to block out the unsightly "junkyard" my neighbors have going. Prefer something that can at least get to 6 ft high. The soil is sandy, it is in shade, with maybe an hour or two of sunlight per day. Need something that is not too high maintenance. I also have horses, dogs and cats so would need something non-toxic. THANK YOU!

ANSWER:

The first step in this process is for Mr. Smarty Plants to introduce you to the use of our Native Plants Database. After clicking on the link above, look in the Recommended Species Lists box and click on View Recommended Species page. Click on East Texas on the map and you will get a list of 133 species of native plants that are commercially available for use in landscapes in East Texas. This is probably more information than you can use right now, so go back a couple of pages to the Native Plant Database page and scroll down to the Combination Search box and make the following choices: Select Texas under state; shrub under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check part shade under Light requirement, dry under soil Soil Moisture, and then click the "Submit combination Search" button. You will get a list of 95 species of native plants that grow in Texas that meet these criteria. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has information about the plant's characteristics, growth requirements, as well as images. You can modify the list by changing parameters such as Soil moisture, Habit, or Light requirement.

Mr. Smarty Plants gets lots of questions about using shrubs to make the neighbors disappear, so I will provide links to some previously answered questions that may prove helpful.

3350  from Winnsboro, TX

5164 from Dallas, TX

595 from Flower Mound, TX

5071 from Fort Worth, TX

6506  from Porter, TX

Check the plants that are recommended in these answers to make sure they fit your growing conditions.

Whenever we get questions about poisonous plants, we usually go to the databases listed below.

Toxic Plants of Texas

Poisonous Plants of North Carolina

Cornell University Plants Poisonous to Livestock

University of Pennsylvania Poisonous Plants

Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System

Toxic Plants: Horses   from the ASPCA

Equisearch

Poisonous Range Plants of Temperate North America

After you have picked out the plants you want, run the name through these databases. Finding the plant listed is a good indication that it is toxic. However, not finding the plant isn't a guarantee that that it is not toxic, but it is less likely to be.

For some help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Cass County office of Texas AgriLife Extension.


 

 

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