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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


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?


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



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