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

Evergreens for privacy screen in WI
May 29, 2011 - We'd like to add privacy to our backyard with evergreen trees. The problem with this area is it very wet and the ground is soft and mushy until the dry summer conditions. We've rocklined the the a...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen by pool in Friendswood, TX
October 07, 2009 - We just moved into a new home with a pool in the backyard. We are trying to figure out what to plant along the back fence to allow for a bit of privacy; we have no direct backyard neighbors but there...
view the full question and answer

Non-poisonous, non-allergenic plants for privacy fence
March 15, 2012 - I'm looking to put in some plants to create a privacy fence against one side of my property. I'd like a mix of plants that grow well together in order to create a diverse look. I need something ever...
view the full question and answer

Plants for privacy in Round Lake IL
April 14, 2010 - I recently purchased a house in northern Illinois that overlooks a busy walking path. The yard is 80 feet wide and currently has a 4 foot chain link fence, but I would like to add something for priva...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for screen behind a waterfall
July 25, 2010 - I want to plant 3 evergreen trees as a screen behind a waterfall and along a fence by my pool. We took down a wax myrtle due to winter/ice damage and the mess in the pool. I want male yaupon hollies...
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