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

Wednesday - March 16, 2011

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need Fast-Growing Screening Shrub for Arlington, TX
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

What fast growing shrub/tree could be planted along side a fence to provide additional privacy? We have a pool in our backyard and the view behind our house is less than enjoyable. We would like to block out the rear view of the neighboring house with something more soothing in appearance. Because of the pool we would like to find something that would remain green all year. Also, we have pets and young children close by. Is there such a thing?

ANSWER:

I used the Recommended Species feature from our site and chose North Central Texas.  Then I narrowed the list to only shrubs or trees that grow 6 - 12 feet high and will grow in full sun in dry conditions. Then I selected the best (for you) of the lot.

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)  should fit the bill admirably.  It is fast growing, aromatic, with berries in the fall.  Fragrant sumac likes to make lots of root shoots and build a thicket and likes to grow in drifts in nature. If you plant them in staggered rows, eventually you will get "drifts" of them kind of like you get drifts of daffodils as they multiply out from the centers.  So you could plant it in two staggered rows and it should soon start making a thicket and give you a living screen that has aromatic flowers that attract butterflies, beautiful berries that feed birds in winter, and wonderful fall leaf color. It is also disease free.  The only drawback is that it is deciduous; but, if you plant it back from the fence in two staggered rows, it will still screen as it makes thickets of stems covered with berries. Plant it a little back from the fence so it has room to send up suckers and make a thicket without moving over to your neighbor's yard.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is another shrub/tree that I got when I asked for trees that are recommended for your area.  It comes in red berry and a yellow berry form.  It will form a dense hedge and is evergreen but is slow growing so you would have to spend a lot of money to get plants that are already big enough to make a statement. It has winter berries and birds love it for nests and the berries in winter. Only the females have berries but that is usually what you buy.  You have to have a male plant nearby to provide pollen to get the berries.


Rhus aromatica

Ilex vomitoria

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Granbury, TX.
April 14, 2011 - We live on a rocky hill in Hood County, Tx. and need suggestions for evergreen anything that will provide privacy. Red Cedars were added in October 2010 and it looks as if half of those are dying. He...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge for Dripping Springs, TX
April 25, 2014 - We live in Dripping Springs, TX and are looking to find a suggestion for privacy hedges that are non-toxic to dogs, drought resistant, can handle rocky soil and full sun. We prefer flowering hedges. ...
view the full question and answer

White flowers to plant in front of evergreen tree screen in Altoona PA
June 15, 2010 - I have planted about 30 evergreen trees (as a screen). I would like to plant a row of low maintenance whitish flowering bushes or low maintenance large flowering plants in front of this row. Any sug...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening shrubs from La Quinta CA
July 31, 2013 - I need a solid row of screen tree / shrubs that are at least 10 feet (prefer 12) tall and can be kept trimmed to a narrow (6 foot or less?) width. Will be planted against a 6' cement wall facing west...
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

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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center