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?

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
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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - February 21, 2011

From: Seabrook, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Screen for utility box in Seabrook TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Utility box cover: Thinking of using star jasmine on a three sided fence/trellis. Each side 3 ft sq. I can send a picture. Not sure best fence style to use or way to plant. Suggestions? Need coverage to grow fast and be 36-40 inches in height, East facing area gets lots of sun. Presently have small Sego Palm in front of utility boxes but too slow of growth will have to remove, HOA not happy. Better alternatives? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Trachelospermum jasminoides, Star Jasmine, is native to China and therefore falls out of our area of expertise. It also can be quite invasive, will grow fast with longer vines. It can climb up trees or walls and can make the trees so top-heavy that they are liable to fall in a high wind. In fact, most vines will grow higher than you are planning on, and are deciduous so that you would have bare vines part of the year, not providing the coverage you are looking for.

We would recommend instead some native shrubs that can be planted, perhaps one on each side of your utility box, and trimming to remain an appropriate height. Evergreen shrubs will provide that coverage year round, and be relatively low-maintenance.

To make some selections, go to our Recommended Species section, click on East Texas on the map, which will take you to a list of native plants that should do well in your part of the state. On the sidebar at the right side of the page, select on "Shrub" under General Appearance, and "Sun" under Light Requirements, and then NARROW YOUR SEARCH. On a trial run, this gave us 11 selections, from which we chose Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) and Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). Both are evergreen, can take the amount of sun you have, and tolerate severe hedging or pruning. Follow each plant link to the page in our website on that plant, where you can learn the proper care and amount of water needed, expected height, when it will bloom and so forth. There are also dwarf versions of both plants that would not need to be pruned quite so vigorously. 

Dwarf Shrubs for the Seabrook Area:

Dwarf Yaupon 'Nana'

Dwarf Yaupon Holly 'Schillings Dwarf"

'Stokes Dwarf'

Dwarf Morella Cerifera

Dwarf Southern Wax Myrtle

'Don's Dwarf'

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria


Ilex vomitoria


Morella cerifera


Morella cerifera

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Looking for a Privacy Barrier Plant for NC
August 21, 2014 - I am trying to determine the best plant for a privacy barrier for my area in NC that has clay soil. I have a 6 foot high fence but need something 12 feet or taller. It has to be something that does no...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for garden and pool in California
October 13, 2008 - I need a fast growing screen for privacy. Here are the issues:1. we have a 3 story apartment building looking right into our backyard. so trees need to be at least 15' tall and dense. 2. we have a po...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for wall in Florida
February 26, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I live near Tampa, FL and I want to put a line of privacy plants/hedges along a brick wall. The wall is 6' high with openings in the top 3' of the wall. The length of the w...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for privacy in VA
June 24, 2012 - I need fast growing evergreens or large shrubs, flowering or non-flowering, for privacy. They will need to flourish among large oak and hickory trees that are 75 plus years old. We don't want to dama...
view the full question and answer

Plant mistakes from Cedar Park, TX
April 09, 2014 - At our "Wilts End" in Cedar Park, TX. and are looking for a tall shrub/tree that will hide a 6-ft tall concrete wall and muffle the noise from a busy street. The wall forms a very wide-angled V shap...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center