Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - June 01, 2011

From: Laytonsville, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plants to filter dust from a road in MD
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in MD next to a dirt/gravel access road. I would like to plant something along my property line to block the clouds of dust we regularly get from cars and dirt bikes. Is there something fast growing and low maintenance that I can plant there? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The fastest growing and lowest maintenance plants are without question, large deciduous shrubs or small multistemmed trees.  They can take the abuse they receive next to a dirt road, put on a fresh coat of leaves every spring and have flowers and fruit to attract birds (and humans).

To begin the plant selection process you can search our Native Plant Database.  Do a Combination Search for Maryland, selecting: shrubs or trees/your conditions and size (6-12 feet or larger).  It will generate a list with links to detailed plant information pages.

Here are some small trees to consider:

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny service-berry)

Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)

Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood)

Rhus typhina (Staghorn sumac)

Sassafras albidum (Sassafras)

and some large shrubs:

Calycanthus floridus (Eastern sweetshrub)

Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)

Ilex glabra (Inkberry)

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)

Viburnum dentatum (Southern arrowwood)

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberry bush)

 

Using a combination of these plants you could have a "hedgerow" with flowers in spring and summer, fall colour, summer fragrance and the wildlife benefits of cover and food.  Plus it would meet the practical requirements of your situation.

 

 

 

 

 
 

More Trees Questions

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

Grafting different colors of Tecoma from Casa Grand AZ
April 01, 2014 - Is it possible to graft different colors of tecoma and if yes, is the process same as process for grafting roses?
view the full question and answer

Viability of Cupressus macrocarpa in Arvada, Colorado
October 06, 2008 - Can I plant lemon cypress in Arvada CO, zone 5, as landscaping plant? Can't find zone information.
view the full question and answer

Is a Brandywine Maple messy from Westchester IL
November 06, 2011 - Brandywine Maple: Does this tree produce sap, seeds or flower? As a home owner I can't afford more maintenance with clogged gutters or a sap covered car. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Susceptibility of Shumard oaks to oak wilt
March 25, 2006 - I have planted a red oak tree. I am still trying to locate the ID tag for the type. I planted it two or three years ago. I purchased the tree from either Lowes or Home Depot. Is there a type of red oa...
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.