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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

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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Wednesday - August 03, 2011

From: Knightdale, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Need a shrub to conceal a privacy fence in Knightdale, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Could you recommend a medium-sized shrub/bush (max height of 6-7 feet) to plant along a privacy fence (purpose is to conceal the fence from the street view per HOA)? I live in Zone 8.

ANSWER:

Probably one of the first things you  should do is determine if your HOA has a recommended list of plants or any specifications/restrictions? Its better to learn that now rather than after you have plants in the ground.

Mr. Smarty often gets questions about using plants to hide something; usually its neighbors, but in your case its a fence. Earlier this summer he received an inquiry about a privacy hedge from North Carolina. The circumstances are different from yours, but the answer contains some useful information including instructions for using our Native Plants Database, a short list of plant suggestions, and a link to the  Asheville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of North Carolina. So check out this previous answer which will hopefully answer most your questions.

A couple of reminders:
Once you have selected your plant, wait until the Fall before planting your screen. It is just too hot now to put plants into the ground

You can control the height of your hedge with careful pruning. Here are two links that describe how you can do this:

Pruning 101

Garden Share

Checking our National Suppliers Directory can be helpful in locating Native Plant Nuseries in you area.

 

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