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

Saturday - August 20, 2011

From: Santa Barbara, CA
Region: California
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Tall screening tree for Santa Barbara, California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, we live in Santa Barbara, California. We are looking for a tree between 20-30 feet high to block the neighbors two-story house yet the area we have to plant is 3 feet from the fence to the driveway. We currently have 3 majestic beauty olive trees along the fence in front of this location and are looking for options to blend with these and continue to block the house year round for privacy. My husband thought of an oak which I think would get too big and messy for this area. I thought an Australian Willow might work well but some find it boring. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

ANSWER:

Since the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes", we certainly wouldn't recommend an Australian Willow.   We do, however, have some native possibilities for you.

The one that sounds ideal for your purpose is Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii (Hollyleaf cherry).  Here is more information about it that indicates it makes an excellent tall, dense screening plant and can be planted in close proximity to a building or other structure.

Another possibility is Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp. aspleniifolius (Fernleaf catalina ironwood) and here are photos and more information.

Here are a couple of pines that are possibilities:

Pinus muricata (Bishop pine) and here are more information and photos

Pinus torreyana (Torrey pine) and here is more information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Torrey pine
Pinus torreyana

More Privacy Screening Questions

Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
November 23, 2011 - I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome ...
view the full question and answer

Screening plant for pool in Cleburne, Texas
March 15, 2009 - I recently put in a very large pool. I need to plant something for fast growing, taller than an 6 ft fence for privacy. The property isn't so appealing behind my pool. When standing on my deck, I ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Tree for Austin, TX
February 10, 2013 - Can you recommend a tall privacy plant similar to the Thuya Green Giant that is suitable to the Austin environment?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen trees for screen in North Carolina
September 14, 2008 - Recently moved into a new "cluster" development where homes are very close together. Need to plant bushes / trees for privacy and would like fast growing ones that are good in the south. Attempted...
view the full question and answer

Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
July 26, 2011 - I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
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.