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

Area under live oaks from Austin
October 08, 2012 - We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp...
view the full question and answer

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Potential allelopathy of cultivar of Artemisia ludoviciana
March 09, 2009 - I recently submitted a question regarding allelopathic potential of artemisia ludoviciana on rusty blackhaw viburnum, not specifying that I meant Vibernum rufidulum. Mr. SP interpreted my viburnum as...
view the full question and answer

Trees for privacy and filtering dust in NY
March 23, 2011 - I live on a very busy, DUSTY, dirt road in Putnam County NY. (zip code 10524) What is the best, fast growing evergreen that I can use for dust control and privacy? I would prefer something that requi...
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