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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.

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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.

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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!

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Friday - March 04, 2011

From: McLean, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small Tree or Shrub for Northern Virginia
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I live in Northern Virginia in the metro D.C. area and we just had a large pine tree topple over in the front of our house. We would like to replace it with a native evergreen that wouldn't grow up as tall as the power lines and would act as a nice privacy screen. The space is between two driveways near the street (hence the power line issue) and it is a southern exposure. The soil is dense and very heavy clay. There isn't a lot of traffic on the street and the previous pine did very well but it was over 60 years old and had been severely pruned back by the power company. Thank you for any assistance you can give! You've been so helpful in the past.

ANSWER:

Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer to a questioner from your area looking for a plant similar to what you are looking for. I'll offer one more plant for your consideration: Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine). You didn't say how high your power lines are and this may get too tall (15 - 40 feet)

Your clay soil may not be ideal for these plants, but with enough care, they should survive.


Pinus virginiana

 

 

 

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