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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:

 

 

 

 

 

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