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

Thursday - September 01, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Shrubs
Title: Eight Foot Screen for Austin, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a fast-growing shrub to "extend" the height of my fence and provide privacy in my yard in Austin. My lot is pretty much full sun and very dry, mostly clay soil. 8' is my goal. Thanks!

ANSWER:

  I think I have some shrubs that will fit your request pretty well.  My process is to use the recommended species list for Central Texas, and then narrow the selection to shrubs, 6-12 feet in height.

  That only gave seven results, but three of them are native varieties of Sumacs which thrive on low water, dry soils and grow to around 10 feet in height!  That sounds real close to your request to me! The Fragrant sumac in my garden is doing very well in this drought season. It is well established and has not required any watering so far. Rhus glabra has a lovely fall color.

Check them out here:

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) grows to 6-12 ft.

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac) grows to 10-20 ft.

and Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac)  is listed as 8-12 ft.  I've included pictures of them as full plants below.

  There were three other choices that weren't related.  Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) had similar growth characteristics while Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) and Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush) are common screen plant choices [and still native to Central Texas] but require moist soils and more water.

I hope this gives you a good set of choices for your fenceline!

 

From the Image Gallery


Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

More Privacy Screening Questions

Windbreak for Eastern Kansas
July 17, 2011 - I need to plant a fast growing windbreak near my lateral lines for a septic tank. We obviously can't have anything that would interfere with the laterals but I desperately need a North wind break. ...
view the full question and answer

Natural privacy hedge for Kyle Texas
January 06, 2014 - I am looking to make a natural privacy screen in the Kyle Texas area. I am being pointed towards Leyland Cypress by some and told to shy away from this tree by others. I found Green Giant Arborvitae a...
view the full question and answer

Seven foot privacy fence in Tucson
November 25, 2014 - I am looking for a privacy hedge for a home in Tucson, Arizona that will be in full sun. Needs to be at least seven foot tall and low water and maintenance. Any suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Looking for an evergreen vine to grow on trellis as a privacy screen
July 11, 2015 - Hello, I'm looking for an evergreen vine to grow on a free standing trellis. It is used as a screen on our back porch, so ideally we would not like to use anything that flowers due to the insects ...
view the full question and answer

Year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.
November 02, 2010 - We need a year-round privacy screen of evergreen plants.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center