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

Privacy Tree for Austin, TX
February 10, 2013 - Can you recommend a tall privacy plant similar to the Thuya Green Giant that is suitable to the Austin environment?
view the full question and answer

Hankering for a view-blocking hedge in Hempstead, TX.
July 03, 2013 - Hempstead is 50 miles west of Houston and I am looking for a fast growing native to provide a block of a view for a fairly large area (about half a block). I would prefer something that is also benef...
view the full question and answer

Folsom CA Wall-cover
April 13, 2012 - I live in Folsom, CA and I have an ugly cinder block wall that I want to cover, I want something that is low maintenance and that is going to grow and spread into my grass. The only one i can really t...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs with fragrant flowers for screening in NY
October 27, 2010 - I'm trying to find a bush or shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the fence that would get between 6 and 8 ft tall. Something neat, and if possible with fra...
view the full question and answer

Native, flowering plants for privacy fence in Hamilton Co., TX
October 31, 2006 - Looking for a native plant or climbing vine to grow on a high (8') game fence to create privacy and hide what's behind the wire. It will be planted near Hico, Texas. Would love the added benefit o...
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