En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - February 08, 2011

From: Arlington, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Looking for shrubs to replace Photinia as a privacy screen in Arlington, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Suggestions to replace diseased red tipped photinia. Looking for hardy privacy screen type of evergreen, not too deep with height of approx. 10-12' Thank you


Red Tip Photinia (Photinia xfraseri), although widely overused as a lanscape plant throughout the southern U.S., is a non-native hybrid of Asian parents that is susceptible to various fungal diseases. This Clemson University Extension website thouroughly discusses Photinia, its culture, its problems, and recommended substitutes, although several of their suggestions are non-natives. Of particular interest for your situation is the section, Mixed Screens.

The following is a list of possibilities. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its Native Plant Database page that contains information about the plant's characteristics and growth requirements to include soil, light, and water. Be careful to select plants whose requirements match your location.

 Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf viburnum)

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)    you may want to consider dwarf cultivars depending on you situation.

Ilex decidua

Rhus aromatica

Rhus glabra

Morella cerifera

Viburnum acerifolium

Juniperus virginiana











More Privacy Screening Questions

Privacy screen for Canyon Lake, TX
February 07, 2014 - I need some help. I live near the Guadalupe River in Canyon Lake, TX and my backyard faces a busy street. I need a fast growing thick shrub for my backyard for privacy since I cannot afford a fence at...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
April 20, 2011 - Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The ...
view the full question and answer

Fence Shrub for Sugarland, TX
June 08, 2015 - Hello I live in Sugar Land TX, I am looking for a fast growing shrub to plant along my six foot wood fence for a privacy screen. There is not a lot of room for them to grow in width but there is pl...
view the full question and answer

Windbreak for Eastern Kansas
July 17, 2011 - I need to plant a fast growing windbreak near my lateral lines for a septic tank. We obviously can't have anything that would interfere with the laterals but I desperately need a North wind break. ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge for Maryland Porch
July 03, 2014 - I am working on a screen/fence, which is a barrier hedge between our house and our next door neighbor's house to add privacy to our screen porch and dining area, especially in winter. The fence would...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center