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

Sunday - May 29, 2011

From: Muskego, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Evergreens for privacy screen in WI
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

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 area where water runs like a brook when it rains a lot, which has helped direct the rain, but it still is damp and moist.

ANSWER:

You may be disappointed with our recommendations as the suitable evergreen trees are the one that can seem to dominate the natural world around you, such as:

Abies balsamea (Balsam fir) (Images)

Pinus strobus (Eastern white pine)

Picea mariana (Black spruce) 

Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae)

Tsuga canadensis (Eastern hemlock) (check with your local agricultural extension service before you plant this tree, as it is highly susceptible to attack by woolly adelgid in warmer parts of its native range)

However, they are adapted to the conditions you describe as they are native to your area.

We recommend you use these "everyday" conifers for the backbone of your screen and then add smaller deciduous flowering trees to make the planting more interesting such as:

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny service-berry)

(which flowers early in the spring, produces berries the birds love and then has interesting orange to red fall colour)

Larix laricina (Tamarack)

(which is a decidous conifer that turns yellow or orange in the fall before it loses its needles)

Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry)

(which will provide an amazing display of red berries as long as you plant a male and a female)

Nyssa sylvatica (Blackgum)

(which has very intense red fall colour)

Sambucus racemosa (Red elderberry)

(which also flowers early and produces very red berries)

Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)

(which produces red/orange berries that persist after the golden/orange leaves are shed in the fall)

If you create your screen using a mixed planting, you will not only have the privacy you need but it will be attractive to look at throughout the year, and will provide much needed wildlife habitat!

Here are some photos from our Image Library


Pinus strobus


Picea mariana


Thuja occidentalis


Tsuga canadensis


Amelanchier laevis


Larix laricina


Ilex verticillata


Nyssa sylvatica


Sambucus racemosa


Sorbus americana

 

 

 

 

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Trees to replace Ligustrums, and evergreen vines for privacy screen
January 21, 2008 - We had 3 ligustrum trees growing along a creek bank in our back yard and under the City of Austin power lines. Our backyard is on a terrace about 7 feet above the creek's flood plain. The Ligustrums ...
view the full question and answer

Screen of Thuja Occidentalis on fire-damaged property in Bastrop TX
May 04, 2013 - I want to plant a screen of Thuja Occidentalis on the east side of our driveway. It is in the burn area of Bastrop, TX. None of our trees survived. Will Thuja Occidentalis grow here? I saw some specim...
view the full question and answer

Need shrubs for a privacy screen in Glendale CA
October 30, 2014 - Dear. Mr. Smarty Plants I need to grow a tall hedge 15-20 feet minimum to block a condo complex which overlooks my back yard. I need a fast growing hedge which is non toxic to dogs and one which roo...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Trees for Pleasanton, CA
April 30, 2014 - I was looking for some fast growing trees for my backyard that backs up to Valley Ave in Pleasanton, Ca. The city just cut down 4 Redwoods behind me and there is so much noise from the traffic now Ca...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
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