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
2 ratings

Friday - January 14, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fenceline trees for Northwest Austin
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We live in Northwest Austin, near 183 and Anderson Mill. Our neighbor recently cut down all their trees in their backyard, which provided nice afternoon shade for us. We would like to re-plant some trees along our fenceline that would be fast growing and provide both shade and privacy. We'd be interested in both evergreen and deciduous trees.

ANSWER:

What a fun project! When Mr. Smarty Plants recommends plants it is of the local native species; these can be reviewed by searching the “recommended species” list that can be found in the Plant Database page.   You can also narrow the search by selecting the central region of the state of Texas, “Tree” as the general appearance, and then review the records returned for your fast growth and density [privacy] requirement. 

As you might imagine, this gives a number of options; several that I like include Catalpa speciosa (Northern catalpa), which is fast growing but a bit tall, Cercis canadensis var. mexicana (Mexican redbud) for good color, Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree)Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)Pistacia mexicana (Mexican pistachio), Quercus fusiformis (Escarpment live oak) and, for lots of color, Rhus lanceolata (Prairie flameleaf sumac). Another evergreen would be Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), although it is more like a very large shrub, and also the yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), which will give you lovely red berries in the winter.

Here’s a few pictures of some of the more interesting of these.

                             

Catalpa speciosa        Cercis canadensis var. mexicana    Cotinus obovatus          Rhus lanceolata

 Some of these may grow a bit big for a city fenceline.  If you think so, you may want to steer the appearance towards “shrub” and look for some of the taller specimens.   I’ve got a number of colorful favorites in that list also!

 

More Trees Questions

Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
August 08, 2013 - I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
view the full question and answer

Will Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis) grow in northeast Texas?
November 24, 2009 - Will Texas madrones grow by Cedar Creek Lake and if so, do you know where I could purchase them "sort of" locally?
view the full question and answer

Tree for a Missouri yard
March 10, 2012 - Our front yard tree died. We have landscaping that needs shade. We are in Zone 5, looking for a fast/medium growing shade tree that does not produce anything that falls into the grass and will allow t...
view the full question and answer

Toxicity of catalpa wood?
June 05, 2012 - Is the sawdust from cutting up a catalpa tree or the smoke from burning the wood toxic? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Texas Ash
January 03, 2007 - Where can I purchase a Texas Ash? One native tree nursery advertised Texas Ash but the trees turned out to be Fan-Tex, which I believe is an Arizona Ash cultivar.
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