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
1 rating

Thursday - April 14, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live on a corner lot with the backyard facing a busy street. My lot is 4 feet lower than street level. I am looking for a privacy screen to plant along this North facing side. I have a canopy of live oaks that shade the area most of the day until 3 pm, when blast of SW sun hits this area. I have a 4' limestone wall with 4' wrought iron fence on top of the stone to cover and hopefully grow above. I'm looking for something 8-10' or more. I live in southwest Austin. Thank you so much for your time.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants often gets questions regarding hedges as privacy screens. I am going to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Native Plant Database to help you answer this question, and to share the ancient wisdom of the “green gurus” by referring you to some previously answered questions (really not that ancient).

Our Native Plant Database  contains 7,161 plants that are searchable by scientific name or common name. If you are not sure what you are looking for, you can try the Combination Search or the Recommended Species lists. There are several ways to use this feature to find plants, and I will show you just a couple.  Click on the Native Plant Data Base link, scroll down to the Combination Search box, and make the following selections: select Texas under State, Shrubs under General Appearance, and Perennial under Lifespan. Check Part Shade under Light Requirement, and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click on the Submit combination Search button and you will get a list of 70 native species that you can chose from. Clicking on each of the Scientific names will bring up its NPIN page that gives the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements, and in most cases, photos.
To use the Recommended Species lists, go to the Native Plant Database and scroll down to the Recommended Species List box. Clicking on the map will enlarge it so that you can click on Central Texas. This will bring up a list of 155 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Central Texas. After reading through a few of these you’ll realize that all of them aren’t shrubs and you need to narrow your search. Go to the ”Narrow Your Search” box on the right of the screen and make the selections as before. You can get several different lists by changing the selections in the Narrow Your Search box.

Next, let’s look at some answers to previous questions from Texas.

Austin, TX  #2080 

Austin, TX  #4355

Porter, TX  #6506   Coral honeysuckle Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) could be a great addition to your wrought iron fence.

Austin, TX  #3664 

Georgetown, TX #6126    Note the warning about the difficulty of growing some plants under Oak trees (allelopathy).

As you read through these, you will see that there is quite a variety of possibilities to use for for privacy hedges. You can also see that Wax Myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) seems to be one of our favorites, and hopefully one of yours.


Morella cerifera


Lonicera sempervirens

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Low-Maintenance Hedge for Massachusetts
February 17, 2014 - I want to put in a native low-maintenance hedge in a sunny spot with plants that can take dry soil. I would like the plants to grow to less than 4 feet wide. It can be an informal hedge, but I don't ...
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

Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen shrubs for Butler PA
August 09, 2013 - Here is what I want in a bush: native to Western Pa.(Southern Butler County), appropriate for a horse pasture,fast growing, not too aggressive (I will mow around it regularly and can prune occasionall...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant privacy plants for Flagstaff AZ
March 19, 2013 - We need a fast growing drought tolerant tree that will grow in Flagstaff AZ/Parks AZ. Neighbors are hoarders and we want privacy fence to cover the mess. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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