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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - May 27, 2011

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: A nice-looking, fast-growing privacy hedge for Oregon
Answered by: Guy Thompson


Would you please suggest a fast growing option to create a privacy hedge? I need to get my husband off the boxwoods he is touting.. The ideal solution would grow to 8 feet high, look interesting all year round, and produce nuts or fruit that distract the birds from the cherry, quince and fig trees growing along that side of the yard. Many thanks!


It is hard to find the perfect plant for your requirements, mainly because the beautiful ones which come to mind are generally rather slow-growing.  I might suggest Thuja plicata (Western arborvitae), also called Western Red Cedar (see attached photo of hedged plants).  This evergreen grows moderately fast and is sometimes trimmed and used as a privacy hedge.  If left alone it grows into a tall tree.  Another possibility is Alnus rhombifolia (White alder) (see attached photo).  This is a fast growing tree but is deciduous.  You might consider planting white alders and , behind or among them, slower-growing species such as Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry) (see description by Washington Native Plant Society) or Morella californica (California wax myrtle) (see attached photographs).  When the alders grow too tall cut them down and the evergreen species will be large enough to give you privacy plus some food for your birds.  Or plant among them Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) for showy spring blossoms.


From the Image Gallery

Pacific rhododendron
Rhododendron macrophyllum

More Privacy Screening Questions

Hedge plant for Maui.
February 17, 2009 - Question: I live in Pukalani, Maui, Hawaii and would like to put a "living fence" around my yard for some privacy. Ideally, I want something that is going to grow fast and about 8+ feet tall for a h...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for privacy screen in Granbury Texas
December 21, 2014 - We need to put an evergreen privacy screen between our barn and our neighbor's new 132' long, unattractive building, which runs along & is just 40' away from our fence line & where they have decid...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen by pool in Friendswood, TX
October 07, 2009 - We just moved into a new home with a pool in the backyard. We are trying to figure out what to plant along the back fence to allow for a bit of privacy; we have no direct backyard neighbors but there...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center