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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 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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Sunday - May 01, 2011

From: Rock Port, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs to block dust from dirt road
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a dirt road in Northwest Missouri. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance shrub/bush that will form a barrier to block the dust from the dirt road? Thank you

ANSWER:

A dense evergreen would best serve to block the dust from your dirt road.   Unfortunately, there is only one such dense evergreen hedge-forming tree/shrub native to your area—Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)—but it would be a good one.  There are varieties commercially available that lend themselves to making a thick hedge.

If you don't fancy the eastern red cedar, here are three deciduous shrubs/small trees that have a dense growth and are native to Atchison County.  Perhaps you have enough snow in the winter months when the leaves would be gone to keep the dust down.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw)

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry)

Robinia hispida (Bristly locust)

You can look for more possibilities by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing Missouri from Select State or Province and 'Shrub' or 'Tree' from Habit (general appearance).  Alternatively, you can go to our Recommended Species page and choose Missouri from the map or pull down menu to get a list of plants native to Missouri that are commercially available for landscaping.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of the above recommended plants:


Juniperus virginiana


Viburnum prunifolium


Prunus virginiana


Robinia hispida

 

 

 

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