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

Monday - September 05, 2011

From: Tampa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Transplants, Shrubs
Title: Need shrubs to plant alongside a swimming pool in Tampa, FL.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I Have a 3 1/2 foot gap between my pool screen and back fence. This gap runs about 30 ft. long. I would like to place small trees to look beautiful and to grow 6-8 ft. high to screen out my neighbors. The space is moist and shady. I planted East Palatka holly trees about 3 months ago and they have all died. I'm not sure if it was because the soil was too moist or if it had something to do with the salt/chlorine being so close to the pool. Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thank you for your time!

ANSWER:

East Palatka holly tree is a hybrid  of Ilex opaca (American holly) and Ilex cassine (Dahoon) that was discovered in Florida in 1927, and is also known as Ilex x attenuata ‘East Palatka’. From this first link, we learn that the tree prefers well drained soil, will grow in sun and part shade, and has moderate salt/chloride tolerance.

Given the short life span of your plants, Mr. Smarty Plants is suspecting transplant shock, perhaps because the roots of the plants were just too wet. I’m including links to three sites that do a good job of explaining this problem, and give tips for preventing it.

North Carolina State University

Northscaping.com

Gardeningknowhow.com

I found two other links that should allay your concerns about the chlorine in the pool water. One is from a previously answered question, and the other is from Cooperative Extension in Harnett County in North Carolina.

To look for other plants that might work in your situation, go to the Recommended Species List on our Native Plant Database Page. Clicking on Central Florida will bring up a list of 239 commercially available native species suitable for planned landscapes in Florida. That’s too many plants for now, so go to the “Narrow Your Search” box and make the following selections: select Florida under State, shrub under Habit, and Perennial under Lifespan. Select part shade under Light Requirement, and Moist under Soil moisture. Click on the Narrow Your Search Button and your list shrinks to 54. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that contains a description of the plant, its growth requirements, and photos. Look for plants whose growth requirements meet your growing conditions.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for Rindge, NH
May 06, 2009 - We are building a new house and I want to get shrubs/bushes that stay green all year long (ie:hollyberry)to put in front and around our house. Which of these would go closest to the house? I'd like t...
view the full question and answer

Sumacs under live oaks dying in Austin
August 08, 2010 - Converted my yard to native plants last fall. All of the fragrant and evergreen sumacs are dying off one by one - they have never thrived. I ensure they get a good soaking at least once a week. I w...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
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.