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

Privacy hedge for East Texas
January 07, 2009 - I need suggestions for a native shrub/bush as a privacy hedge for East Texas conditions. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Privacy Screening of House Next Door in NC
June 26, 2013 - Hello, I live in the house my parents bought in 1971 in Winston-Salem, NC. The house beside me is an eyesore and for sale at a very low price. I am afraid the condition of the house and yard next door...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle for screening in Euless, TX
March 04, 2009 - We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We need something to use as a screen along our back fence, to block the view of our neighbor's storage building. We are looking for a tall shrub that we can s...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen around pool in Vermont
February 08, 2009 - I am looking for a plant or tree that doesn't lose its leaves or needles that can offer privacy around my pool but not grow tall enough to block out the sun in the early and late hours. Would an ever...
view the full question and answer

Need native plants for wind block and screening along a fence row in Commerce, TX
June 04, 2011 - I'm looking for a small tree or lg shrub for wind block & screening along a fence row. The soil is black clay with a mostly full sun exposure. Landscaper suggested Elaeagnus but I want a nat...
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